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White rides a 62 to the halfway Eastern Amateur lead
By Rick Woelfel for AmateurGolf.com

Christopher White is showing the way at the halfway point of the 63rd Eastern Amateur. White, a native of Garden City, N.Y. on Long Island, fired an 8-under par 62 on Friday at the Elizabeth Manor Golf and Country Club in Portsmouth, Va. to finish 36 holes at 12-under par 128.

White is three shots clear of the field. Trevor Hulbert of East Tennessee State sits alone in second place at 9-under par 131 after a round of 66. Charles Musto of the U.S. Naval Academy and first-day leader Kevin Johnson of Bethesda, Md. are both at 132 after rounds of 67 and 69 respectively. Another college player, Jack Boatright of Connecticut, is at 134 after a 68 while Tennoshin Ogawa of Texas Rio Grande signed for a 67 to reach the halfway mark at 135.

Five additional players are at 136, including Max Siegfried from Virginia, Peter Gasperini from Radford, Trey Wren from Temple, Davis Lamb from Notre Dame and Keith Cooper from Virginia Wesleyan.

The 22-year old White, who currently plays out of Garden City Golf Club, recently graduated from the University of Virginia where he played club golf and competed in NCCGA events. He’s also competed against professionals on occasion.

On Tuesday, he started out with birdies on two of his first three holes before adding an additional birdie at the seventh to make the turn in 3-under par 32.

White found another gear on Elizabeth Manor’s back nine, recording birdies at the 11th and 12th before charging down the stretch and finishing his round with three consecutive birdies. He felt the key to his day was a solid wedge game.

“I hit the wedges really well today,” he said, “kept it mostly in the fairway, and really putted well today. So, I was just trying to stay one shot at a time and not really care about anything else.”

White’s longest birdie putt of the round was a 25-footer at the 17th when he left a nine iron out to the right on his approach. For the most part, he was left with birdie putts that were eminently makeable.

“For the most part, I was just trying to take advantage of when I hit a wedge reasonably close,” he said, “and just tried to roll in a lot of 10-footers.”

White is continuing to work on his game and is seriously considering turning professional, although he has no firm timeline in that regard. He earned his degree at Virginia and enjoyed his time there even though he wasn’t playing varsity golf.

“Obviously, it would have been nice (to play for the varsity),” White said. “They have a great team but I really enjoyed the school and I was really fortunate because the weather is better down there than it is in New York and I was really able to put in a lot of time on my game.”

Hulbert opened his round with three consecutive birdies and made the turn at four under par for the round and nine under for the tournament before playing Elizabeth Manor’s back nine in even par.

Mustro’s round featured an eagle two at the par-4 seventh that helped him make the turn at three under par for the day and eight under for the tournament; he played the back side in even par.

Johnson, meanwhile, put together an up-and-down round that included three birdies and two bogeys.

A total of 35 players broke par on Friday.

The cut came at 4-over par 144; 84 players will return for the weekend. White, Hulbert, and Johnson will tee off at 12:30 local time in the final group.

The tournament scoring record of 22-under par 258 was set by Chris Hickman in 2014.

ROUND ONE RECAP

The leaders set a torrid pace on Thursday in the opening round of the 63rd Eastern Amateur. Now, it’s up to the rest of the field to keep up for the balance of the week.

Kevin Johnson, a recent graduate of Gonzaga College High in Washington, D.C., will sleep on the first-round lead Thursday night after getting around Elizabeth Manor Golf and Country Club in Portsmouth, Va. in 7-under 63.

Johnson, a native of Bethesda, Md., has a two-shot lead over a pair of college players. Trevor Hulbert of East Tennessee State and Charles Musto of Navy both finished early with matching rounds of 5-under 65. Peter Gasperini of Radford, who shared runner-up honors here last year, was at 4-under 66, along with Christopher White from Virginia and Jack Boatwright from Connecticut.

Six additional players are at 3-under 67 including David Rabil from Christopher Newport, Hunter Ostrom from Notre Dame, Jack Katarincic from Miami of Ohio, Trey Wren (Temple), Max Siegfried (Virginia), and Andrew Spiegler from South Carolina.

Johnson, who will attend Division II St. Leo this fall, started out hot Thursday afternoon, going out in 5-under 30 after recording birdies at Nos. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8. He added additional birdies at 10, 13 and 15 before recording his only bogey of the day at the par-4 17th.

Johnson’s two closest pursuers both played in the morning wave.

Hulbert, who has one year of eligibility remaining at East Tennessee State after playing one season at Holy Cross, started at the 10th hole and returned a clean scorecard, one that showed three birdies on his first nine and two more on his second. At one point, he converted three birdie chances in succession, at the 18th, first, and second holes (his ninth, 10th, and 11th). The only five on his card came at the par-5 third hole, his 12th.

Musto, who will be a junior at the Naval Academy also started on the back nine and opened with a bogey at the par-4 10th but then birdied Nos. 11, 12, and 13 to make the turn in 2-under 33. He added four additional birdies on the front side to get to six under par for his round, before making bogey at the ninth hole, his 18th.

As expected, there was an abundance of low scores. A total of 38 players in the field of 156 broke par on Thursday and since 2004 the winning score for 72 holes has never exceeded 268 (the tournament was shortened to 54 holes in 2015 because of weather).

Results: Eastern Amateur
1IDHunter OstromEagle, ID50067-70-64-66=267
T2NYChristopher WhiteGarden City, NY40066-62-68-71=267
T2MDKevin JohnsonBethesda, MD40063-69-65-70=267
4VACharles MustoSterling, VA30065-67-66-70=268
5PAAmbrose AbbracciamentoNewtown, PA30069-69-67-64=269

View full results for Eastern Amateur

ABOUT THE Eastern Amateur

The Eastern Amateur is a 72 hole stroke play event that perennially attracts a top-drawer field. The tournament has been played -- with the exception of 1977 and 1999 -- at Elizabeth Manor Golf and Country Club. Elizabeth Manor is a par 70 Dick Wilson design in Portsmouth, Virginia.

The impressive list of winners includes U.S. Open winners Curtis Strange, Ben Crenshaw, Andy Bean, Hubert Green, Jim Furyk and Steve Jones. Other notables who have played in the Eastern Amateur are Lanny Wadkins, Arron Oberholser, Steve Marino, Scott Hoch, Clarence Rose, Gary Koch, Bob Tway, John Rollins, Fred Funk, Carl Petterson, Chip Beck, Jim Simons, Ben Crenshaw, Steve Melnyk, Andy Bean and Steve Liebler. Liebler won the who the Eastern in three different decades and is the only golfer to have ever qualified for the USGA Junior, USGA Amateur, USGA Open, USGA Public Links, USGA Senior Open and USGA Senior Amateur as well as representing his state in the USGA Team competition.

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