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OAKMONT, Pa. – Nearly four hours of weather delay ensured that stroke play would continue into Wednesday at the 121st U.S. Amateur.
Half of the 312-player field will have to return to Oakmont Country Club and Longue Vue Club to complete their rounds and solidify the 64-player match-play bracket. Brad Reeves, however, will be able to sit back and watch.
The Arizona grad, playing in his first USGA championship, backed up a 5-under 65 Monday at Longue Vue with a wild even-par 70 Tuesday at Oakmont. Reeves carded six birdies and six bogeys, and he made just two pars on the back nine, to get into the clubhouse at 5 under, best of anyone finished.
“It was blowing, and there were holes that were playing ridiculously hard,” Reeves said. “… I was struggling, grinding it out, but I knew everybody else was probably doing the same thing.”
Reeves would be correct. With plenty of second-round action left – play will resume at 7:30 a.m. ET Wednesday – 69 players are at 2 over or better. The playoff for the final match-play tickets will likely fall at 3 or 4 over.
Texas senior Pierceson Coody, the world No. 2, is hoping for the latter after shooting 69 at Longue Vue but with bogeys on two of his final five holes. Coody’s playing competitors, No. 1 Keita Nakajima and No. 3 Ludvig Aberg, are headed home at 11 over and 8 over, respectively. Coody’s fellow Walker Cuppers, Cole Hammer and Ricky Castillo, are each 2 over with seven holes left at Oakmont.
At the top of the leaderboard is West Virginia’s Mark Goetz, a member at Hannastown Golf Club, which is about a half-hour from Oakmont. Goetz is two clear of the field at 9 under, and ended Tuesday 3 under through 12 holes at Oakmont.
Reeves will at least get to enjoy the clubhouse lead for a night, and there’s still a chance he could get the top seed for match play. Not bad for his first – and final – try. He’s set to turn pro after this championship and will begin his next chapter at next month’s Korn Ferry Tour Q-School pre-qualifier.
While he was standout for the Wildcats, winning the Pac-12 Championship and earning the conference’s player-of-the-year award this past season, Reeves had to qualify into this week’s field. He’s No. 45 in the WAGR now, but he was outside the top 50 when the first exemptions were handed out, so he went out and won his qualifier in Pleasanton, California.
Prior to that, he’d never come within two shots of qualifying for any USGA championship.
“This is a really good experience for me,” said Reeves, who opted against turning pro earlier this summer and playing Monday qualifiers and mini-tour events. “I would’ve liked to have a few more [USGA starts] under my belt going into this week, but you know, it’s golf.”
Which could also explain why Reeves, despite his USGA inexperience, has as good a chance as anyone to lift the Havemeyer come Sunday.