Hidetoshi Yoshihara, of Niigata, Japan, shot a bogey-free, 6-under 64 on Tuesday to lead the 117th Western Amateur after one round at Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club.
Playing in one of the first groups that started on the second nine, Yoshihara, a senior at UCLA, rolled in a 50-foot putt on his 17th hole for his sixth birdie of the day.
“I kept hitting fairways and greens and was aggressive when I could be,” he said.
Three players are tied for second at 5 under. Playing in the windier afternoon wave, James Nicholas, of Scarsdale, New York, made five birdies and no bogeys for his 65. He concluded his round by holing out a 9-foot putt for par on No. 9.
“It was a ticklish putt coming down the hill, and I knew I had to make it to go bogey-free, so it meant a little more,” Nicholas said. “My ability to scramble was the best part of my game.”
Everton Hawkins, of Irvine, California, and Matthew McCarty, of Scottsdale, Arizona, share second with Nicholas.
The No. 1-ranked amateur player, Chun An Yu, of Taoyuan, Taiwan, is one of five tied for fifth at 4 under. Pierceson Coody, of Plano, Texas; Ryan Hall, of Knoxville, Tennessee; Peter Kuest, of Fresno, California; Daniel Wetterich, of Cincinnati, Ohio; also posted 66.
After saving par on No. 12 with a 10-foot putt, Coody carded three consecutive birdies to put himself in good position.
“Playing in the afternoon is usually a little tougher, so I’m in a great spot,” Coody said.
Eight players are tied for 10th at 3 under.
Before banging in his birdie off the flagstick on the eighth, Yoshihara two-putted for par from 60 feet on No. 7, making a 10-footer to keep his card clean.
“That was a very big putt and one that gave me confidence to finish the round,” he said. “The one on the next hole was a bonus.”
Defending champion Cole Hammer shot 2-over 72. Western Junior winner Piercen Hunt, of Hartland, Wisconsin, finished with 71.
“I’m really excited to be able to stack my game up this week against some of the best amateurs in the world,” Hunt said. “Obviously, it’s a little tougher, and I’m honored to be out here.”
TOP 10 LEADERBOARD
1. Hidetoshi Yoshihara – Niigata, Japan -6
2. James Nicholas – Scarsdale, NY -5
2. Everton Hawkins – Irvine, CA -5
2. Matthew McCarty – Scottsdale, AZ -5
5. Pierceson Coody – Plano, TX -4
5. Daniel Wetterich – Cincinnati, OH -4
5. Ryan Hall – Knoxville, TN -4
5. Chun An Yu – Taoyuan, Taiwan -4
5. Peter Kuest – Fresno, CA -4
10. Wilson Furr – Jackson, MS -3
10. Karl Vilips – Perth, Australia -3
10. Turk Pettit – Auburn, AL -3
10. Alex Schaake – Omaha, NE -3
10. Chandler Phillips – Huntsville, TX -3
10. Tripp Kinney – Des Moines, IA -3
10. Davis Thompson – Saint Simons, GA -3
10. Nicolas Cassidy – Johns Creek, GA -3
*Point O’ Woods club Champion Matt Zerbel – St. Joseph, MI +2
Coverage continues tomorrow afternoon on 106.1 & 1400 WSJM Sports with updates at 12:40, 1:40, 2:40, & 3:40, followed by a one hour wrap-up show after Tigers baseball at approximately 7:30.