BENTON TOWNSHIP — The Western Amateur will have a new champion this year, but Wednesday’s second round offered little clarity on who it might be.
David Laskin and Daniel Wetterich ended at 6-under par, putting them atop a tightly-packed leaderboard at the Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club.
Nine players were just one shot back at 5-under, and all 53 players who made the cut were within six shots of the lead. Defending champion Cole Hammer missed the cut, finishing at 1-over.
The remaining players will play 36 holes today, with the top 16 advancing to Friday and Saturday’s match play rounds.
“In college we play a lot of 36-hole (days),” said Laskin, a senior at the University of Arizona. “It’s challenging, and you have to stay patient throughout the day because you know there’s going to be some ups and downs, but I think I’ve had plenty of experience playing 36 holes. I’m excited.”
Laskin shot a 4-under 66 on Wednesday, and said he likes the Point O’ Woods course.
“I think it’s just a true test,” Laskin said. “You kind of have to shape it pretty well off the tee. I think one of the strengths of my game is hitting it pretty straight off the tee.
“It’s a good course. It makes you think. The green complexes are pretty tough. Overall I’d say it’s a great championship test.”
One of Laskin’s playing partners, Matthew McCarty, was briefly atop the leaderboard at 7-under, but finished at 5-under. The third member of the group, Jackson Suber, finished 2-under.
“It definitely helps being in a group like that,” Laskin said. “You want to see each other do well, but at the same time you want to play just as good if not better. I think we were pushing each other.”
Wetterich started the morning two shots back of first-round leader Hidetoshi Yoshihara, and pulled into a tie for the lead with his 68.
“I wasn’t hitting the ball the greatest, but I managed my game really well and put myself in spots to make some birdies,” Wetterich said.
Quade Cummins had Wednesday’s best round at 6-under, but a 1-over round Tuesday left him in the large tie at 5-under for the tourney.
Also in that group was Davis Thompson of Georgia, who shot a 68 to put together a second straight solid round despite changing conditions.
“It was a little windier today,” Thompson said. “I thought it played tougher today. I’m sure the course will get firmer and faster, so I’m just looking forward to that tomorrow.”
Yoshihara shot 3-over for the day, falling to 3-under overall. Also at that mark is Chun-An Yu, the top-ranked player in the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking.
Hammer ranks second, and wasn’t the only highly-rated player to miss the cut. Also out are No. 5 Isaiah Salinda, No. 12 Blake Windred, No. 13 Ben Jones, and No. 16 David Micheluzzi.
St. Joseph graduate Matt Zerbel, competing as the Point O’ Woods club champion, missed the cut after shooting 7-over on Wednesday. He finished 9-over for the tourney.
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