Erin, Wis. – Bobby Leopold, a 26-year-old insurance professional from Cranston, R.I., defeated stroke-play medalist Gregor Main, 22, of Danville, Calif., 2 and 1, and was one of 32 winners in the first round of match play that started Wednesday at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship at 7,660-yard, par-72 Erin Hills.
A member of Rhode Island’s second-place team at the 2010 USGA Men’s State Team Championship, Leopold advanced to match play in Wednesday’s 20-for-4 playoff. He also advanced to match play through a playoff at last year’s U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay.
Leopold, who was born in the USA, grew up in England and played college golf at Rollins College in Orlando, Fla., lost the first two holes against Main but was able to square the match through six holes. He then won two of the next three holes and never lost his lead.
“It’s the U.S. Amateur, so you are playing the best players in the world,” said Leopold, who also represented Rhode Island in 2009 at the USGA Men’s State Team Championship. “It’s a battle every time you tee it up. You expect that. It wasn’t any different with Gregor. It was tough with wind. It was difficult out there.”
Main, who tied the lowest 36-hole stroke-play qualifying score in U.S. Amateur Championship history at 10-under-par 132, is the second medalist in two years to lose in the first round.
Leopold, the oldest player to advance, will meet 2011 USA Walker Cup Team member Harris English, 22, of Thomasville, Ga., in the second round. English defeated Andrew Yun, 20, of Chandler, Ariz., 3 and 1.
Reigning champion Peter Uihlein, 21, of Orlando, Fla., began his title defense with a 3-and-1 win Wednesday over Eugene Wong, 20, of Canada.
Because of weather delays that began Tuesday, only six of Wednesday’s scheduled first-round matches were completed before the round was suspended due to darkness at 7:30 p.m. CDT.
Uihlein, who will represent the USA for the second time at the Walker Cup Match in Scotland in September, won the third and fourth holes, and went on to extend his lead to 4 up through 14 holes Wednesday.
“The wind was blowing, the golf course was hard, the pins were brutal and I knew pars were going to be good,” said Uihlein, who won the 2011 Hogan Award as the best player in college golf. “I had an early awful bogey on two but I was pretty solid the rest of the way. He is a good player so it was a tough draw.”
Uihlein meets Dylan Frittelli, 21, of South Africa, who plays at the University of Texas, in the second round.
“It’s nice to get the first victory out of the way but it’s still not easy,” said Uihlein, who also played on the 2009 USA Walker Cup Team. “The more you go, the harder it gets. I’m going to have to play well. Dylan is a great player. I play with him a lot since he’s in the Big 12.”
Jack Senior, 23, of England, a member of the 2011 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team, defeated 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Corbin Mills, 21, of Easley, S.C., 6 and 4.
Four other 2011 USA Walker Cup Team members also won: Patrick Cantlay, 19, of Los Alamitos, Calif.; Russell Henley, 22, of Macon, Ga.; Chris Williams, 20, of Moscow, Idaho; and Patrick Rodgers, 19, of Avon, Ind.
Cantlay and Henley will meet in the second round.
The 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday.