KARACHI: Pakistan No.1 Omar Khalid stayed in contention to become the first player from his country to qualify for the match play stage of the 74th US Junior Amateur Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, United States, after carding an impressive round of 73.
Playing in extremely windy conditions at the treacherous Bandon Trails course, Omar bounced back from a shaky start to finish his round with a birdie on the par-5 18th on Tuesday. He is just one shot behind the projected cut after two rounds of stroke play event at the US Junior Amateurs, regarded as the most prestigious and challenging junior event in international golf. Omar was scheduled to play the second stroke play round at the par-72 Bandon Dunes course.
Omar’s compatriot Yashal Shah carded 75 at the par-71 Bandon Trails and remained with an outside chance of qualifying for the match play rounds. A total of 264 top-ranked junior players from all over the world are featuring in the championship. The top 64 will qualify for the four-day match play rounds of the championship.
Omar began his round with a bogey on hole 10 after missing a seemingly easy putt. He was at 38 at the turn but bounced back with a birdie on the 212-yard par 3 second hole.
Meanwhile, the biggest headline of the opening day was provided by Jack Cantlay, the younger brother of reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Patrick Cantlay, as he broke the championship nine-hole scoring record with a 28 on Bandon Dunes’ front nine. Cantlay started on No. 10, and his second nine included a pair of eagle 3s on the two par 5s, a 45-foot putt on the third hole and a 65-foot chip-in on No. 9. Four over par through his first eight holes, Cantlay rallied to play his final 11 holes in 9 under par to card a 5-under 67.
For the second round, players will switch courses, after which the field of 264 will be trimmed to the low 64 scorers for match play. Should a playoff be necessary to fill the remaining spots in the draw, it will take place on Bandon Trails (holes 1, 2 and 18) on Wednesday. All of the matches will take place on Bandon Dunes.
Top players from 25 nations are competing in the US Junior Amateurs.
The legendary Tiger Woods is one of three golfers who have won the US Junior Amateur and then went on to win the US Open. Woods won the Junior Amateur in 1991, 1992 and 1993 and won the US Open in 2000, 2002 and 2008. Johnny Miller won the Junior Amateur in 1964 and followed up with a US Open win in 1973. More recently, Jordan Spieth won Junior Amateur titles in 2009 and 2011 and followed up with a US Open victory in 2015.
The winner of the championship will earn an exemption into the 2023 US Open to be played at the Los Angeles Country Club. He will also earn an exemption into the next two US Amateurs.