Date: August 16, 2018
Author: Dave Tease

#USAmateur: Blake blown away at Pebble Beach

Blake Windred has been bundled out in the first round of the matchplay of the US Amateur, losing 6 and 5 to a red hot Chun An Yu of Taiwan.

Windred had few answers for the onslaught, aknowedging how well his opponent played.

“I played some great golf again today, but the other guy (Yu) just played too good.

“I had eight pars to start the day and was five down in pretty windy conditions.

“Then had two plugged bunker shots in a row, and that just buried me, but that’s just matchplay,” Windred lamented.

“I would’ve beaten the world number one today by the scores shown, but I played a red hot & inform player instead.

“When your 5 down and haven’t missed a shot I think it’s very hard mentally to think positive.

“It felt like whatever I did, he did better but that’s golf.

Despite the early exit, Windred was bouyed by his performance on the road over the last two months.

“What a learning experience this trip has been.

“I’m still happy. I know how much I have improved, and where my golf is heading,” he added.


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DAY TWO: Windred advances to match play

An impressive two under par 70 at Spyglass Hill has vaulted Blake Windred into the matchplay rounds of the 118th US Amateur Championship.

With the second round in the books, Windred is in a tie for 24th at one over par, well inside the top 64 cutline which fell at four over.

Windred was all business this morning, getting his round started with a birdie on the first before adding another at the fourth to jump up the leaderboard. His only blemish of the day was a bogey on the 8th, but in a growing sign of his maturity, he bounced back straight away with a birdie on the 9th. Nine straight pars on the back was all it took for the Novocastrian to seal his place in the knockout stage.

“After finishing bogey-triple yesterday, as hard as it was at the time, I tried to stay positive, and today, I just got out there and played solid golf.

“I feel my mental game has improved so much,” Windred said.

Windred described the aura of playing the two revered layouts as akin to playing a video game, with himself front and centre.

“Honestly, it felt like being in a video game out there the past two days.

“Just the courses, and the way I have been hitting it, I feel so in control,” he added

On top of his tidy second round effort, Windred also got the chance to have a few words and grab a quick selfie with the game’s greatest, Jack Nicklaus.

“I saw him on the range yesterday and said G’day, then after my round today, I walked past him again and said hello.

“He saw my NSW hat, and I told him I play at The Australian.

“I think he knows the course,” Windred grinned.

Meanwhile, Nathan Barbieri has closed his US Amateur campaign with an encouraging one-over par 73 at Spyglass Hill. Had it not been for a couple of double bogeys and a triple bogey, the Monash Country Club represntative would be right in the mix to qualify for the match play rounds.


Golf Australia’s Mark Hayes writes …

Queenslander Dylan Perry has rediscovered the form that made him so feared in amateur circles last year, peeling off a quality 68 to reach one under and eventually a share of 10th place with a swag of birdies on the famous Pebble Beach layout.

Perry was clinical in churning out five birdies against two bogeys. The former New South Welshman turned Gold Coaster, who enjoyed a stunning 2017 northern summer, particularly in the UK, said he’d fallen into the trap of measuring this year’s performances against last.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit at times this year and I kept putting pressure on myself after last year to do the same things again and anything else wouldn’t be good enough,” Perry said.

“But I said to myself at the start of this week, which might be my last time to play here as an amateur, just to relax and enjoy the experience.

“So this is a completely fresh frame of mind, and the results of the past two days are showing it.

“I played really well yesterday and just couldn’t make a putt, but today they started dropping a little bit and it felt great again.”

And on one of Pebble’s two most famous holes, he didn’t even need a putter, chipping in from 40m for birdie on the 18th, the ninth of his round, to set him alight.

“I had an opportunity to go for the 18th in two but decided against it, but then I pretty much “flub-hooked” it into the left sand not too far up,” Perry said.

“It was almost against the bunker wall, but I flubbed it out about again then hit a pitch shot that I thought was going to sit on edge, but after three seconds it dropped.

“It was such a cool thing and … on that hole, especially.”Perry smiled.


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DAY ONE: Pebble no beach for Blake

Newcastle’s Blake Windred isn’t dwelling on the ‘what ifs?’ After a three over par 74 at Pebble Beach left him tied in 104th place after the first round of the US Amateur.

The 20 year old was sailing along nicely until the 9th hole (his last for the day) when trouble struck in the form of an inopportune double bogey. In a sign of his growing confidence, however, he shrugged off the snafu when quizzed about it post round.

“I tried to play it out of the hazard on the hardest hole on the course.

“I got too greedy, but life goes on,” he laughed.

With the fields switching courses tomorrow, Windred knows he is still in with a good chance of qualifying for the match play rounds.

“I won’t be changing a thing tomorrow.

“I just need a couple of putts to drop and it could be very good,” he smiled.

Nathan Barbieri has found out first hand how tough one of the game’s greatest courses set up for world’s pre eminent Amateur Championship can be.

On day where only 12 players managed to break par at the famed Pebble Beach layout, Barbieri carded a six over par 77 to sit in 202nd place.

“I didn’t feel like I played that bad, I just had two poor holes that cost me five shots.

“I was greenside for two in 10 inch rough on the sixth. I flubbed it out, but still had to chip on and I three putted.

“Then on the 18th, I hit one out-of-bounds then hit another one in the water,” Barbieri lamented after his closing triple-bogey.

Australian Scores after RD 1:

12: Zach Murray (-1 | PB)
43: Min Woo Lee (+1 | PB)
73: Dylan Perry (+2 | SH)
73: Shae Wools-Cobb (+2 | PB)
104: Blake Windred (+3 | PB)
166: David Micheluzzi (+5 | PB)
202: Nathan Barbieri (+6 | PB)
256: Charlie Dann (+8 | SH)


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PREVIEW: California dreams for Blake and Barbieri

Blake Windred and Nathan Barbieri are hoping California dreams come true when they begin their quest at the US Amateur tonight (AEST) at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hills Golf Course.

The NSW duo, who are making their first appearance in the event, are part of an eight-man Australian contingent competing in the 118th running of the revered championship.

Both are hoping to emulate the feats of former Champions Curtis Luck ( 2016) and Nick Flanagan (2003) and Walter Travis (1900/01 and 03) in lifting the Havemeyer Trophy.

RELATED LINKS (click to view)

PROFILE: Nathan Barbieri

PROFILE: Blake Windred

SAHALEE: Close but oh so for for Barbs

PORTER CUP: Blake makes a splash at Niagara


Monash Country Club’s Nathan Barbieri has returned to the US after some time at home following his outstanding run of performances in North America during June and July.

“I only had a week off because I got into the Western Amateur,“ Barbieri said.

Before his break, the 21-year-old recorded top 10 finishes at the Monroe Invitational and the Rice Planters Amateur before finishing runner-up at the Sahalee Players Championship in early July.

Barbieri said he is treating the week as an opportunity that might not come around again, so he intends to enjoy every moment of it. 

“It is unbelievable to be playing these two courses. There is so much history.

“I have some goals for the week, but the main one is to have some fun.

“Playing Pebble and Spyglass could be a once in a lifetime thing, so I’m just going to enjoy it,” he said.

Barbieri said he believed it was going to take solid ball striking to have any chance of success around the two testing layouts.

“Good ball striking and a solid short game will be needed, they are both tough golf courses,” he added.

 As for the likelihood of another Aussie lifting the trophy come Sunday, Barbieri was bullish with his assessment of their chances.

“All of the boys are pumped, so if it’s not me, it will be one of them,” he grinned.

Newcastle’s Windred, who flew into Monterey after playing the Western Amateur in Chicago last week, described the Pebble beach layout as tough.

“I don’t know why everyone told me Pebble Beach is easy; it’s brutal.

“The rough is like six inches long and the second hole is the longest par four I think I have ever played.

“We are playing off what will be the 2019 US Open tees as well.

“It’s a true test of golf,” Windred, who finished runner up in last month's Porter Cup, added.

As for his chances of becoming the second Novocastrian to claim the crown, Windred was a little more reserved than his NSW team mate Barbieri's assesssment.

"There are 300 other players trying to do the same thing, so I don't think I will be thinking aboiut winning until I get to the round of eight or something," he laughed.




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