Brandon Mancheno (USGA photo)
ANDOVER, Kansas (July 17, 2017) -- The U.S. Junior Amateur now allows players up to 18 years old to play, which means that a number of top players in the field are either playing college golf or will do so soon.
Today, Auburn commit, Brandon Mancheno lit up the course at Flint Hills National, and trust us (we've played it) it isn't that easy. Though treacherous; however, the left-handed 18-year-old was not fazed by the track during this morning’s round.
“I like it, the fairways are kinda wide, so if your long off the tee (which he is) and you hit it somewhat straight, I think you are going to make a lot of birdies out there.”
Mancheno, from Jacksonville, did exactly that, starting a 5-under for five holes tear on the 595-yard 5th hole, where he made eagle, holing out with a lob-wedge from 84-yards. After birdieing Nos. 6 and 7, he parred No. 8 and finished a blistering front nine of 31 with another birdie on the 476-yard par four 9th.
The runner-up in the Florida State Amateur, and winner of the 2016 St. Augustine Amateur slowed down a bit on the back nine, with a bogey on the short-but-tricky par three 10th (just 130 yards). From there it was a return to birdie-ville for Mancheno, who tweeted from hole Nos. 11, 13, 16.
He would finish by rolling in a 6-foot birdie putt on 18 to set the Flint Hills National course record with an 8-under-par 63, besting the previous record of 64 previously held by recent Northeast Amateur Champion, Collin Morikawa and Oklahoma University golfer, Rylee Reinertson.
“It feels good, but it really wasn’t my goal today. It was supposed to be an even par 71 out here, and just trying to shoot a few decent rounds out here.”
Mancheno managed to do much more than that, playing the par-5s at 4-under-par, totaling eight holes where he would make birdie or better.
As the tournament's second round of qualifying for match play gets played on Tuesday, Mancheno is trailed by Kaito Onishi of Japan.
And get this.
Onishi started by holing out his first shot of the tournament for an ace on No. 10, the same hole that Mancheno bogeyed. And he wasn't done -- on the 471-yard par 4 15th hole, he holed his second shot for eagle.
Onishi would use his pitching wedge in both instances, striking from 130 yards and 138 yards, respectively. His second shot on the par-4 15th would come after a monstrous 332-yard tee-shot that would put him into perfect position.
"Thats ridiculous. I haven’t heard of anything like it, that quick in the round. Making a hole-in-one on your first hole of the day. It’s great.” offered Brandon Mancheno of his fellow competitor’s accomplishment on Monday.
One more birdie for Onishi (No. 17) and he was out in 30, before recording two bogeys on the front nine and shooting 35 for his round of 6-under 65.
Now, mind you, the point is fairly meaningless, but we always enjoy putting two amazing cards together and seeing what the best-ball would have been. Had Mancheno and Onishi been partners today, their best-ball would have been 16-under 55.
Hopefully they will get to play a match against each other this week. It would be fun to watch.
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ABOUT THE U.S. Junior Amateur
While it is not the
competition, the U.S. Junior Amateur is
considered the premier junior competition,
having been around since 1948. The event
open to male golfers who have not
their 19th birthday prior to the close of
competition and whose USGA Handicap
does not exceed 6.4. The U.S. Junior is
14 national championship conducted
by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for
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