William Mouw (Western Amateur photo)
There's something different about William Mouw
Beginning with his second-place showing at the NCAA Bryan Regional back May, the Pepperdine senior seems to be gaining confidence with each and every outing.
Mouw parlayed his strong showing at Bryan to a tie for fifth at the NCAA Championships and then carried his hot-play over to the summer, earning medalist honors at the U.S. Open Open qualifier at The Olympic Club and going on to win the Trans-Miss Amateur
at the Denver Country Club in July.
After 36-holes at the Western Amateur, Mouw enjoys a two-shot lead at the halfway mark of stroke play qualifying in arguably the second most prestigious amateur tournament outside of the U.S. Amateur.
After opening with a 1-under round of 70 on Tuesday, the Chino, Calif. native moved to the top of the leaderboard after firing a 7-under 64 Wednesday at Exmoor Country Club outside of Chicago. At 8-under 134, Mouw has a one-stroke lead over four golfers who are tied at 6-under, including first-round leader Kelly Chinn
, who tied an Exmoor CC course record
with a 8-under 63 in his first round.
As rain pummeled Exmoor Country Club, Mouw's round got off to a bit of an auspicious start following a bogey on the first hole. When the storm cleared and the round resumed at 2:45 p.m CT, the former Walker Cup player was brilliant from then on, collecting eight birdies to polish off a 7-under round of 64. After making the turn at 1-under, Mouw caught fire on his inward nine with six birdies, including four straight to finish off his round.
“Pretty cool to see a couple of putts drop,” Mouw said. “You don’t really think about what you’re doing. You just keep hitting golf shots and add them up at the end, and today was awesome.”
If Mouw, who won the 2017 Western Junior at Park Ridge Country Club in Park Ridge, Illinois, makes the Sweet 16, he’ll be the first Western Junior champion to do so since Collin Morikawa in 2018. He’s also trying to become the first Western Junior champion to win the Western Amateur since Jhared Hack in 2007.
“I love the Chicago area,” he said. “I love the Western Golf Association, what they do, the people that support the organization. It’s (always) been the highlight of my year to play at the Western Junior and now at the Western Amateur.”
Recent Illinois graduate Tommy Kuhl is one of four players tied for second at 6-under par after shooting round of 69 and 67. He chipped in for birdie on the 444-yard, par-4 16th to briefly reach 8 under before closing with a pair of bogeys.
Gordon Sargent, of Birmingham, Alabama, is tied for sixth at 5-under par. The 19-year-old rising sophomore at Vanderbilt finished second to Stanford’s Michael Thorbjornsen at the 2021 Western Amateur at Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois, and won the individual NCAA championship earlier this year.
Five players are tied for eighth at 4 under, including Cole Sherwood, of Austin, Texas, who shot a solid 70 during difficult morning conditions when wind gusts neared 30 miles per hour.
The cut came at 1-over par as the field was trimmed from 156 players to 54 on a wet, windy day in Highland Park. The remaining players will play 36 holes on Thursday to determine the Sweet 16 for match play, which begins Friday. Some top players who were left on the outside looking in included Elite Amateur Series points leader Caleb Surratt
(+3), Pacific Coast Amateur champion James Leow
, (+4), Southern Amateur champion David Ford
(+4) and Northeast Amateur champion Dylan Menante
The top-16 players from stroke play will move onto the match play portion of the event starting on Friday.
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
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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