U.S. Amateur: Biddle, Main, Hahn share 1st round lead

Erin, Wis. (Aug. 22, 2011) -- Blake Biddle, 19, of St. Charles, Ill., John Hahn, 22, of Las Vegas, Nev., and Gregor Main, 22, of Danville, Calif., shot 5- under-par rounds Monday and shared the lead after the first round of stroke play at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship.

In the morning’s relatively windless conditions, Biddle, a sophomore at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, fired a bogey-free 67 at the par-72, 7,760- yard Erin Hills course while Main, a three-time All- American while at UCLA, shot a 5-under-par 65 at the par-70, 6,622-yard Blue Mound Golf and Country Club in Wauwatosa. Hahn, a two-time All- American while at Kent State, who won the 2009 Western Amateur, shot a 65 in the afternoon at Blue Mound.

Biddle, who traveled to the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club as an alternate but did not get called to the field, birdied four of his first nine holes. He was the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year in 2011.

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“I’ll take it,” Biddle said, who is playing in his first U.S. Amateur. “It was a good day. The course was really long, although some guys might not think so. I hit a lot of 6-, 5- or 4-irons and a couple of hybrids into par 4s. If you hit it well, you can score.

“It was kind of an easy round, believe it or not. Today was one of those days to keep it under my belt and keep myself in it and shoot par or better and obviously I did that.”

Biddle was quick to mention his good fortune when playing at Erin Hills.“I was worried I wouldn’t have any idea about the wind because I played a practice round with no wind and this round with no wind. Lucky!” Biddle said. “I hit 16 greens and 13 fairways. I tried to play pretty conservatively but there are some pins where you can get aggressive and can work it on. You can pick your times to be aggressive and you can make some birdies.”

Main, who was the runner-up at the 2010 Western Amateur, won 2009 Pac-10 Conference Freshman of the Year honors at UCLA but left the program after 2011, his junior season.

“It was fun,” Main said. “I hit it really well. It was probably the best round I’ve had all summer. I started out one over through three holes and after that, made a bunch of birdies. I birdied four and then eagled five, so that was good, the eagle. Then I birdied nine, so I just got it going.

“I felt like the course was out there for the taking today, because the conditions were pretty benign. There was not too much wind. The greens were perfect, so you could get it going.”

Hahn advanced to the third round of the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay and lost to eventual champion Peter Uihlein.

“I saw Gregor (Main) shot 65 in the morning, and I knew it was out there when I saw him shoot 65,” Hahn said. “I was thinking about it all day. Putts weren’t going in, so I was kind of getting frustrated. I luckily stayed in it and stayed calm and made them right at the end.”

Uihlein, meanwhile, who has played in the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the British Open in 2011 thanks to his 2010 U.S. Amateur win, proved he was up to the task of defend his title. The 21-year-old from Orlando, Fla., posted a 4-under-par 68 at Erin Hills to lead a group of seven players one stroke behind the leaders.

“I felt free on the tee and I was relaxed out there,” said Uihlein, 21, of Orlando, Fla., who will represent the USA on his second Walker Cup Team in two weeks in Scotland. “I made a couple of really greasy pars, which I probably never should have but I missed a couple of easy birdie putts too.”

The six other players who shot 4-under rounds were: USA Walker Cup teammates Russell Henley, 22, of Macon, Ga., and Patrick Rodgers, 19, of Avon, Ind.; Jonathan Garrick, 17, of Atherton, Calif., and Anton Arboleda, 18, of La Cañada, Calif., (all with a 66 at Blue Mound) as well as Justin Thomas, 18, of Goshen, Ky., the runner-up at the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur, and Blayne Barber, 21, of Lake City, Fla. (68 at Erin Hills).

Ten players are two strokes behind the leaders at three under par.

The 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship will continue with the second round of stroke-play qualifying on Tuesday. Following stroke play, the 315-player field will be reduced to 64 for match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday.

The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Results For U.S. Amateur Golf Championship
WinTXKelly KraftDenton, TX2000
Runner-upCAPatrick CantlayLos Alamitos, CA1500
SemifinalsTXJordan RussellBryan, TX1000
SemifinalsEnglandJack SeniorEngland1000
QuarterfinalsFLPeter UihleinOrlando, FL700

View full results for U.S. Amateur Golf Championship

ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur

The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA championship, was first played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent amateur competition in the world. Applications are typically placed online, starting the third week in April at www.usga.org.

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