Charlie Reiter (Conner Penfold photo)
Red numbers were aplenty on Monday at The Olympic Club's Ocean Course, but no player could top the performances turned in by Southern California natives and soon-to-be collegiate seniors William Mouw
and Charlie Reiter
. Each circled 14 numbers on their scorecard, making as many birdies as the other three qualifying players combined.
Mouw, who plays for Pepperdine and hails from Chino, Calif., medaled at 12 under with rounds of 67 and 63, the latter of which was the lowest round of the day by two. Reiter, a former USC Trojan turned San Diego Torero from Palm Desert, Calif., finished runner-up to Mouw after a morning 66 and an afternoon 69.
The five-stroke cushion secured by Mouw made his medalist honor the most lopsided of the 11 U.S. Open final qualifying tournaments, with Joseph Bramlett's two-shot victory in Maryland being the only other medalist to win by more than one. His strong play comes on the heels of a top-5 finish at Grayhawk during the 72-hole stroke-play portion of the NCAA Men's Golf Championship, where his Waves would go on to reach the semifinals.
"I played with some really nice guys today and I had fun with my caddy out there," Mouw told The Golf Channel. "I just stayed in the present and enjoyed getting to play golf out here at The Olympic Club."
Mouw and his group were one of the last tee times of the afternoon, starting play at the furthest southeast point of the expansive property at The Olympic Club — the short par-3 10th. By the time they returned to the clubhouse, Mouw had reached 7 under and shared the lead at one various points with teammate Dylan Menante
Birdies at the first and fourth pushed him to 9-under, where he was comfortably qualifying barring a disastrous finish on his remaining five holes. Mouw refused to take his foot off the gas pedal, rattling off three more birdies to put the cherry on top of his masterful 36-hole day.
Reiter was two groups ahead of Mouw, the two occasionally crossing paths as the Ocean Course's front nine zig-zags on the side of the hill just above Lake Course's 17th hole. While Mouw's afternoon score served as the signature of his U.S. Open berth, Reiter shocked the field before lunchtime.
He bogeyed the first two holes of his day, completing the front nine at 2-over par 38. Then suddenly, things clicked. And quickly. Reiter rolled in birdie putts on seven of his next nine holes to card 28 on the back side, joining Menante atop the leaderboard at the qualifier's halfway point.
"I didn't even realize it until I was on 18 when I made the putt there," Reiter admitted. "I thought I had shot 29 but then I remembered it was a par 36. It was pretty cool."
"I was just patient and knew that I had a lot of holes left," he said about bouncing back from his outward nine. "I didn't really miss a putt on that back nine."
Though not typically his caddie, Reiter's father looped for him at Bermuda Dunes Country Club where they advanced through local qualifying following a 4-under 68. It only made sense to keep the good vibes going up at The Olympic Club.
"It was awesome. I think he's already crying but I'm just trying to think about the next event," Reiter said with a smile. "It was good to have him on the bag. I don't know if he'll get the U.S. Open. It might be too long of a trek for him, but he'll enjoy watching."
ABOUT THE U.S. Open Final Qualifying
Final qualifying for the U.S. Open Championship.
Played at various sites across the U.S. on the
week and half
before the U.S. Open. There is also a qualifier in
and in England. 36 holes of stroke play at each
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