Go, Ralston, Walker chase record, find lead at Western Am
Lloyd Jefferson Go (WGA photo)
Lloyd Jefferson Go (WGA photo)

NORTHFIELD, Ill. (July 30, 2018) – The competitive course record at Sunset Ridge Golf Course came under fire Tuesday in the opening round of the Western Amateur. Three players dove to 8 under, coming within one shot of the record.

Lloyd Jefferson Go, Spencer Ralston and Matthew Walker share the first-round lead at 63. Go was the first player to land on that number early in the day on Tuesday. A two-time Big East Player of the Year while at Seton Hall, Go made two birdies and an eagle on the three par 5s in a bogey-free round.

“Coming into this tournament, I really didn’t expect anything,” said Go, last summer’s Dogwood Invitational winner. “I had been struggling, so I came out here trying to have fun. Hopefully, I keep it up over the next few days.”

Ralston, a junior at Georgia, was even through six before an eagle at the par-5 seventh helped him turn at 2 under. He got it going on the second nine with four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 16th.

“I hit the ball in the fairway, which I kind of struggled with, but a hot putter can make up for a lot,” Ralston said. “I gave myself a lot of opportunities, and I was rolling it well.”

Walker, a senior at Iowa, had the cleanest card with eight birdies and no bogeys.

Scores were low across the board, with 85 of the 156 players in the field firing a first round in the red. Four players are tied for fourth at 7 under, one behind the leaders. Among those players, Shuai Ming Wong got as low as 8 under through 13 holes only to make two bogeys coming in and finish one off the lead.

“I think I definitely left some out there,” said Wong, a freshman at Southern Methodist. “I really was feeling it out there today. I had a couple of setbacks, but that’s part of golf.”

Also at that number are John Augenstein, the Players Amateur champion from Vanderbilt; Chandler Phillips, the Texas A&M standout; and Fernando Barco, winner of the Mexican International Amateur, Peru International Amateur and Terra Cotta Invitational.

In a group at 6 under are Cole Hammer, Isaac Merry, and Sam Stevens. Hammer was part of the winning team at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball this spring. Merry is playing in his last tournament as an amateur before turning professional. He played college golf at New Mexico State.

Results: Western Amateur
WinTXCole HammerHouston, TX150065-68-61-67=261
Runner-upMSDavis RileyHattiesburg, MS120066-68-63-72=269
SemifinalsNYBrandon WuScarsdale, NY90066-69-67-64=266
SemifinalsFLTyler StrafaciDavie, FL90066-68-66-67=267
QuarterfinalsGASpencer RalstonGainesville, GA70063-66-69-70=268

View full results for Western Amateur

ABOUT THE Western Amateur

Invitational event, and the most important tournament in American amateur golf outside of the U.S. Amateur. With a grueling schedule, it's quite possibly the hardest amateur tournament to win.

156 invited players come from across the globe to play one of the toughest formats in amateur golf. The tournament starts with 18 holes of stroke play on Tuesday and Wednesday after which the field is cut to the low 44 scores and ties. Thursday it's a long day of 36 holes of stroke play to determine the “Sweet Sixteen” who compete at Match Play on Friday and Saturday (two matches each day if you're going to the finals) to decide the champion.

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