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U.S. Am Four-Ball First Round Suspended, Brown-Larkin Lead
Hayes Brown (above) and partner Jack Larkin, the  1979 U.S. Junior Am winner, are leading <br>(USGA Photo)
Hayes Brown (above) and partner Jack Larkin, the 1979 U.S. Junior Am winner, are leading
(USGA Photo)

TEQUESTA, FL (May 19, 2018) - Despite a 28-year difference in age, Hayes Brown said it was an easy phone call when he asked 1979 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Jack Larkin to be his partner for the 4th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

“He’s a stud player,” said Brown, the son of Larkin’s best friend, Mike Brown. “I needed the veteran experience.”

It appears to have been a good decision.

Brown, 28, of Charlotte, N.C., and Larkin, 56, of Atlanta, Ga., carded a 6-under-par 64 on Jupiter Hills Club’s Village Course to take the clubhouse lead by one stroke in Saturday’s weather-delayed first round.

Three sides shot 65 on the Village Course, including 2017 semifinalists Marc Dull, 32, of Winter Park, Fla., and Chip Brooke, 42, of Altamonte Springs, Fla.

Also posting 65s on the Village Course were Southern Californians Torey Edwards, 36, of Long Beach, and Bret Parker, 38, of Huntington Beach, and recent Seattle University graduates Patrick Sato, 22, of Bellevue, Wash., and Kyle Cornet, 23, of Seattle, Wash.

The 65 carded by Illinois State teammates Trent Wallace, 20, of Joliet, Ill., and Zach Burry, 22, of Quincy, Ill., was the low round on the Hills Course.

Three weather suspensions totaling 4 hours and 5 minutes created a situation where 52 of the 128 sides did not finish their first round when darkness suspended play for the day at 7:45 p.m. EDT. Round 1 will resume Sunday morning at 7 a.m., followed by the start of the second round. More rain and possible thunderstorms, however, are forecasted.

Brown and Larkin were just happy to finish. A wine salesman who is competing in his 14th USGA championship, Larkin kick-started the round by holing a 6-iron from 170 yards on the 397-yard seventh hole for an eagle-2. Then after the second of two delays – this one totaling 3 hours, 29 minutes – Brown kept the side’s momentum going with a 5-foot par save on No. 10. He finished the day with an 8-iron approach from the left-fairway bunker on No. 18 to 4 feet for a closing birdie.

Dull and Brooke birdied four of their last six holes. Brooke made a 50-footer for birdie on the par-3 13th hole and followed it up with an approach to a foot on No. 14. Dull, the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up at nearby Johns Island Club in Vero Beach, stuffed his 78-yard wedge approach on the par-5 16th hole to 18 inches and then made an 8-footer just after the horn blew for the third non-dangerous delay. The Rules allow for competitors to finish their current hole in a non-dangerous suspension.

Dull, a full-time caddie at Streamsong Resort in Bowling Green, Fla., and Brooke, a former caddie master at the resort who is now involved in the lumber industry, were walking to the 18th green at the time.

“The best feeling ever,” said Dull of finishing.

NOTABLE:

  • More than 2 inches of rain fell on Saturday, upping the total rainfall amount to more than 13 inches since last Sunday. The two courses, which were constructed on a sand dune, drain extremely quickly.
  • Five eagles have been recorded so far in the championship, but none on any of the four par-5 holes. Four occurred on the Village Course – two on No. 6 and one each on Nos. 7 and 11 – and one on the second hole of the Hills Course.
  • Brian Csipkes, 46, of Omaha, Neb., who carded a 2-under 68 on the Village Course with his younger brother Jay, 41, of McKinney, Texas, is a former professional bowler who competed against the likes of Pete Weber and Chris Barnes. He owns six sanctioned 300 games (perfect score). The brothers’ late father, Al, was inducted into the Nebraska Bowling Hall of Fame.
QUOTABLE:

Dull on his side’s mindset when playing in challenging weather conditions: “Patience. We just kept saying patience, patience, patience. Just understanding the effort and energy [you need to succeed]. It becomes an exhausting week. And it becomes a track meet at the end, a fitness test.”

Brooke on how they’re channeling their semifinal run from a year ago into this year’s championship: “We have high expectations for ourselves. We still remember losing [to eventual champions Frankie Capan and Shuai Ming Wong]. We’re grinders. We’re both pretty tough guys. And when it comes down to it, we’re both embracing it.”

Wallace on the format: “Having a really good partner and being able to rely on someone is a huge relief, and it’s not something you get to do in golf very often.”

Brian Csipkes on dealing with the multiple weather suspensions: “Fortunately, we grew up on a little par 3 muni course that is just nine holes and no driving range. You get used to going to the first tee [without a warm-up] and hitting it.”

Larkin on playing in the rainy and damp conditions: “Usually, we go inside and have a beer. We usually don’t go out [and play] in it.”

NEXT:

Round 1 will resume at 7 a.m. EDT on Sunday. Then, each side will switch courses for Round 2. Following play, the field will be cut to the low 32 sides for match play. Should there be any ties, a playoff will take place to determine the final spots in the draw.

MORE:

Spectators are encouraged to attend, and entry into Jupiter Hills Club for the 4th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship is free.

ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, the newest USGA championship, was played for the first time in 2015 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 5.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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