Six Amateurs Make Cut, Highest Total Since 1966

Denny McCarthy was one of six amateurs to survive the 36-hole cut at Chambers Bay. . (USGA/Michael Cohen)
Denny McCarthy was one of six amateurs to survive the 36-hole cut at Chambers Bay. (USGA/Michael Cohen)

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Early in the second round of the 115th U.S. Open Friday morning, Brian Campbell rose to the top of the leader board, thanks to birdies on the second and third holes.

The Big Ten Player of the Year out of the University of Illinois found himself tied for first place with three much more familiar names: Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Masters champion Jordan Spieth, all ranked in the top 10 in the world. The moment eventually passed – call it an amateur’s hour – but there was nothing passé about the overall performance of amateur golfers at Chambers Bay.

When the dried-out fescue had settled, six amateurs made the cut of low 60 scores and ties – the most since the 1966 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club.

Campbell led the way, reaching 5 under par with his two birdies to tie the aforementioned three professionals, and the sight of his name on the leader board is something he will never forget.

“I walked underneath the big leader board [behind the 11th green between the third and fourth holes] and I saw my name up there, so that was pretty cool to at least have that today,” said Campbell, 22, of Irvine, Calif., who missed the cut in his U.S. Open debut last year at Pinehurst No. 2. “I definitely want a little more of that. It was pretty special.”

This championship, which started with 16 amateurs in the 156-player field, has been a special journey for five other young players. Joining Campbell for Saturday’s third round are fellow amateurs Jack Maguire, Ollie Schneiderjans, Beau Hossler, Denny McCarthy and Nick Hardy.

Maguire, 20, of St. Petersburg, Fla., and McCarthy, 22, of Rockville, Md., came into the championship playing well, having shared medalist honors at their respective sectional qualifiers. Maguire fired the best round of the day among the amateurs Friday, a 2-under 68 to finish at 1-over 141 through 36 holes. McCarthy posted 71-73-144.

Schneiderjans, 22, of Powder Springs, Ga., who reached the U.S. Amateur Round of 16 last year, shot 69-73-142, while Hossler, who was on the leader board during the third round of the 2012 championship at Olympic before finishing in a tie for 29th, was a stroke higher after a second-round 72.

Hardy, 19, of Northbrook, Ill., will likely be a popular man on Saturday morning. The University of Illlinois rising sophomore bogeyed the par-3 ninth hole, his final hole of the day, to post 70-75-145. Hardy missed a par putt from 25 feet that enabled 15 more players to play the weekend, 75 total. Had he parred his final hole, Hardy would have been the 60th player at 4-over or better. Instead, the players at 5 over got a reprieve. Among those granted a second life were 2007 U.S. Open winner Angel Cabrera, 2012 champion Webb Simpson and reigning U.S. Senior Open champ Colin Montgomerie.

Hardy also gave new life to Troy Kelly, one of two local products who made the cut. Kelly, of Tacoma, Wash., had bogeyed his last hole for a 73 and 145. Also remaining is Cheng-Tsung Pan, of Chinese Taipei, who has been a regular at Chambers Bay during his time competing for the University of Washington. Pan, 23, made the cut in his professional debut with rounds of 71-72-143.

The other two locals will not play the weekend. University Place resident Michael Putnam, who hit the first shot of the championship, converted just one birdie in a 7-over 77 and missed by two strokes at 147. And four-time PGA Tour winner Ryan Moore, a U.S. Amateur and two-time U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, struggled home in 75-74–149.

The extra stroke wasn’t enough to save defending champion Martin Kaymer. The native of Germany, who dominated the championship last year at Pinehurst No. 2, winning wire-to-wire by eight strokes, couldn't recreate the magic and tumbled out of the championship with rounds of 72-74-146, one stroke too many.

Kaymer wasn’t the only former champion who came up short. Tiger Woods, who in his previous 18 starts had only missed the cut once, in 2006, added a 76 to his opening 80 to cap his poorest performance in the championship.

“I wanted to shoot 5 or 6 today. But I wanted to be on the other side of it,” said Woods, a three-time champion.

Woods finished tied for 151st with 2009 U.S. Open winner Lucas Glover, who stumbled to a second-round 83. Other former U.S. Open winners missing the cut were Graeme McDowell (74-74-148) and two-time champion Retief Goosen (77-71-148).

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, authored the biggest comeback of the day. After an opening 77 on Thursday, Oosthuizen, paired with Woods and Players champion Rickie Fowler (who also missed the cut) notched six birdies in a 4-under 66 and advanced to the weekend at 3-over 143.

Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer whose work frequently appears on USGA websites.