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U.S. Open: Amateur Henley in top 16
19 Jun 2010
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Founder's Blog, U.S. Open Golf Championship, Erin Hills Golf Course

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SATURDAY Update

California sunsets are pretty, but not to hit into

No, it's not Saturday night live, but I feel like it with the late tee times. I can't imagine what it's like for people on the East Coast watching the final group finish at 11pm - I mean Dustin Johnson is exciting but it's not exactly NBA Game 7 at your local pub. Suffice to say that as my friend Joe Alvarez in San Francisco always says "The hardest shot in golf is right into the setting sun," and that's what Phil Mickelson faced when he hit a laser long iron from 242 yards for his third shot on No. 18. Tiger's shot around the tree on No. 18 speaks for itself. It's the same tree that turned amateur Morgan Hoffman's dream round on Thursday into a nightmare as his shot caromed off to the left and into the Pacific on the way to a quadruple bogey. Sunday should be exciting.

Race is on for low amateur, and possible invitation to Congressional in 2011

Russell Henley, the top ranked amateur in the field, continued his consistent play with a 1-over 72 on Saturday, allowing him to move up to T16 and in really good position to get one of the 2011 exemptions awarded to "15 lowest scorers and anyone tying for 15th place at the 2010 U.S. Open Championship." I'm fairly certain that this exemption, unlike a Masters amateur invite, doesn't go away if an amateur decides to turn pro before the next tournament. The last amateur to do this was Spencer Levin of California, who finished T13 at Shinnecock Hills G.C. in 2004. Levin, who once won an amateurgolf.com Tournament Series event, is now a top-125 PGA Tour player.

Henley's three round cumulative stats are impressive:

Greens Hit
32 of 54
59.26%
Fairways Hit
25 of 42
59.52%
Sand Saves
2 of 4
50.00%
Number of Putts
89
1.65 Strokes
Average Driving
Distance
291.50 Yards

Scott Langley of St. Louis, the 2010 NCAA Individual Champion, couldn't quite keep up with the torrid finish he had on Friday, when he posted a 32 on the back nine for a 69 - one of the best rounds of the day. After recovering with a double bogey on the 3rd hole with an birdie-par-eagle run on No's 4-6, Langley made four bogeys in a row and three more after that but did manage a par on No. 18 to steady him down for Sunday. He's 8-over, 2 behind Henley. And his stats are also pretty good:

Greens Hit
31 of 54
57.41%
Fairways Hit
31 of 42
73.81%
Sand Saves
2 of 3
66.67%
Number of Putts
86
1.59 Strokes
Average Driving
Distance
295.50 Yards

After a wonderful week in Pebble Beach, I'm back home in Carlsbad watching from the comfort of my home office. But on Sunday I'll share some more of my observations and stories from the week. If you've never been to the U.S. Open you owe it to yourself to attend one.

To view previous posts, please use the links at the bottom of the page. To view a live leaderboard, click on the tournament name at the top of the page and follow the "results" links.

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