UCLA's Yoshihara sets Western Am pace with bogey-free 64
30 Jul 2019
by Julie Williams of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for Western Amateur, Moraine Country Club

Hidetoshi Yoshihara (UCLA Athletics photo)
Hidetoshi Yoshihara (UCLA Athletics photo)

Hundreds of miles from UCLA on Tuesday, Hidetoshi Yoshihara showed a mastery of Midwest golf. The upcoming Bruin senior got around Point O’Woods Golf Course in Benton Harbor, Mich., without a bogey. His 6-under 64 gives him a slim one-shot cushion in the most packed amateur field of the summer so far.

Starting on the back nine, Yoshihara got his day going with three consecutive birdies from No. 13-15. He had three more birdies on the front at Nos. 2, 4 and 8, the last of which came off a 50-foot putt. It’s a blistering pace, but it has to be to end up on top of this leaderboard.

“I kept hitting fairways and greens and was aggressive when I could be,” he told the Western Golf Association.

Last summer, Yoshihara was in the conversation in a handful of events but never the man on top. He was runner-up at the California Amateur, top 10 at the Sahalee Players and Pacific Coast amateurs and made match play at the U.S. Amateur. He made every start with the UCLA team in his junior season.

After Wednesday’s round, three players are breathing down his neck. One of them is James Nicholas, the Yale grade who seems to be everywhere this summer. Nicholas won the Ivy League individual title in the spring, then after receiving his degree in Biology (pre-med) in the spring, finished in the top 3 at the Sunnehanna, in the top 5 at the New York State Open and qualified for next month’s U.S. Amateur.

The aspiring photographer will be your new favorite Instagram follow. He often takes pictures and videos on family vacations and edits them together for his social media channels.

Nicholas was also bogey-free after making a tricky par putt for 65 on his final hole, the ninth.

“It was a ticklish putt coming down the hill, and I knew I had to make it to go bogey-free, so it meant a little more,” Nicholas said. “My ability to scramble was the best part of my game.”

Everton Hawkins of Irvine, Calif., and Matthew McCarty of Scottsdale, Ariz., are also on that number.

Defending champion Cole Hammer had a 2-over 72 to start the tournament, which left him in a tie for 78th. His Texas teammate Pierceson Coody, winner of the Trans-Miss Amateur earlier this month, got the low Longhorn award on Wednesday with a 4-under 66 that left him tied with a stout group of players: Daniel Wetterich, a recent Ohio State grad; Ryan Hall, an upcoming South Carolina sophomore; Peter Kuest, a five-time winner at BYU this season, and Chun An Yu, No. 1 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com Rankings.

Quotes and information from the Western Golf Association used in this report

Results: Western Amateur
WinCanadaGarrett RankCanada150072-67-70-65=274
Runner-UpOHDaniel WetterichCincinnati, OH120066-68-69-68=271
SemifinalsCARicky CastilloYorba Linda, CA90071-66-69-68=274
SemifinalsCADavid LaskinElk Grove, CA90068-66-74-66=274
QuarterfinalsGADavis ThompsonSt. Simons, GA70067-68-65-67=267

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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