Jim’s Notebook: Arkansas, Razorback Golfers Still in Western Amateur

Stanley Payne, the reigning Alotian Club champion, exited the Western Amateur after the cut was made following the conclusion of the second round Thursday morning.

But when the third round began, he was still teeing it up in the tourney in the final twosome of the day.

With an odd number of players advancing to the third and fourth rounds — the top 44 players and ties moved on after two rounds — Fordyce’s Lane Hulse was left with no partner in the pairings. Typically in major tournaments, a top club member is invited to serve as a “marker” and play with a player who has no partner; so, in this case, the Western Amateur tabbed Payne to fill the spot.

Hulse and Payne teed off at 12:27 p.m. Thursday. Fifty-three players advanced past the second round. Following the fourth round of stroke play on Friday, the top 16 golfers will move into the Sweet Sixteen of match play for the weekend. Matches will tee off at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and the field pares down to the final two Sunday afternoon.

Payne improved one stroke Wednesday on his 7-over 79 first round to finish at 13-over-par 157. He never was able to get on a roll after starting with a double-bogey Tuesday on the par-five opening hole.

CALLING THE HOGS AT THE WESTERN AMATEUR: Four Arkansas Razorback golfers made it to the third round, along with Lee Hulse, who plays at South Alabama. But Hulse and two Hogs still had to finish up Thursday morning and each was teetering close to the eventual cut number of 1-under-par.

Sophomore-to-be Taylor Moore led the Hog golfers with a 4-under 140. Moore is from Edmond, Okla. Sebastian Cappelen was already in the clubhouse Wednesday with a 3-under score for two rounds and knew he was advancing. Joe Doramus, a Little Rock Central grad and a redshirt senior this coming season, made it on the cutline by birdieing the par-five 17th and then getting up and down on 18, though he still had to wait a while before it became obvious the 1-unders were safe. Razorback Nicolas Echavarria, a native of Colombia, bogeyed his final hole, No. 18, as 30 golfers had to finish play Thursday morning, but he had a stroke to spare and finished on the cutline.

Recent UA graduate Austin Cook from Jonesboro stumbled out of the gate Wednesday with four bogeys on his front nine, wiping out his 3-under score from Tuesday. He ended up even par, a stroke out.

Hulse needed a birdies on Nos. 8 and 9, his last hole of the second round, to make the cut. No. 9’s hole location was very tough, sitting in the front middle. Anything behind it would be a lightning fast putt.

DONE FOR THE WEEK: Joey Nichols, a former Arkansas State Golf Association stroke play champion, rebounded from a 5-over first round to shoot 1-over 73 on Thursday morning. Even with three holes left to play after Wednesday’s round was suspended for darkness at 8:03 p.m., Nichols was upbeat about his play.

He only had to look at the scoreboard to see some of the biggest names in national amateur golf that were going home.

“I beat a bunch of good golfers to today,” he said.

One star who completely lost it Wednesday was the world’s No. 2 ranked amateur (according to the Scratch Players World Rankings). Michael Kim finally put the driver in the bag for good Wednesday, but not after it had cost him dearly with a series of wayward-right drives into trouble. Kim shot a 12-over 84 after an even-par round on Tuesday.

Pete Williamson, a Dartmouth grad, and Alabama golfer Bobby Wyatt, last year’s finalists in the Southern Amateur at Chenal Country Club’s Bear Den course, failed to advance. Wyatt put on a Wednesday charge with three birdies but couldn’t make up a first round 75, which included a double bogey on the par-5 14th and bogey on No. 1. Williamson, the 2012 Southern champ, departed at 2-over.

White Hall’s Wes McNulty, who has captured multiple ASGA state titles, shot 7-over in the second round and was 10-over for the tourney. Patrick Lee, the 1995 Western Amateur winner who played at Oklahoma but now makes Centerton, Ark., his home, shot 13 over on Wednesday and 21-over for the tourney.

western amateur at alotian

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