Date: August 03, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Lee, Michel advance at Western Am

Two Aussies have advanced to the match play phase of the brilliant but gruelling Western Amateur in Illinois.

And if the traditional and primary lead-up event to the men’s US Amateur is any guide, Perth’s Min Woo Lee is finding form at precisely the right time.

Lee and Victorian Kyle Michel advanced to the second phase at Sunset Ridge Country Club, north of Chicago, impressively neither a score worse than 68 through the four rounds of qualifying stroke play.

The emerging Michel, based in Melbourne but from Shepparton, turned in scores of 68-66-67-68 to share 10th place at 15 under, eight behind American co-medallists Cole Hammer and Sam Stevens.

Between them lies Lee, who fell from contention late in last week’s Pacific Coast Amateur, but has had no such problems at the Western as his preparations for the pinnacle US Amateur this month hit full stride with rounds of 67-67-66-66 for 18 under and a share of fifth through qualifying.

“I played solid, much better (than in San Francisco),” said Lee, a quarter-finalist at this event last year.

“It’s so crazy the difference in one week– I went from playing bad and unable to see anything going in to hitting every shot the way I want and holing putts.

“It’s a good time to be peaking.”

The other Aussie to make the 36-hole cut was Queenslander Shae Wools-Cobb, another on track for the US Amateur at Pebble Beach.

However, his 36-hole marathon on day three came up short with a closing 73 consigning him to four under and a share of 36th with only 16 advancing to match play.

Narrowly missing the first cut was Wodonga’s Zach Murray, whose four under through 36 was one shy of a red-hot cut mark.

Others to miss out despite nice scores were Melbourne’s Matias Sanchez and Perth’s Karl Vilips, both of whom were three under.

Rising Queenslander Jed Morgan totalled two under, in-form Sydneysider Nathan Barbieri one under, Canberra’s Josh Armstrong even par, Sunshine Coaster Charlie Dann and Newcastle’s Blake Windred each two over and Perth’s Haydn Barron four over.