Bailey advances to match play

Published 10:34 pm Thursday, August 4, 2016

CHICAGO — Port Neches-Groves graduate Braden Bailey continued to make its presence felt at the upper levels of amateur golf Thursday, advancing to the match play portion of the Western Amateur Championship at par 71 Knollwood Club.

Bailey, who had survived the 36-hole cut to the low 44 and ties with rounds of 69-72 on Tuesday and Wednesday, shot 71-70 Thursday. That left him tied for sixth at two-under 282 with University of Texas star Doug Ghim.

Sam Horsfield, who will be a sophomore at Florida, earned medalist honors by a whopping nine strokes with a 269. Horsfield, who had opened the tourney with a 63 on Tuesday, closed with rounds of 67-64 on Thursday.

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Everybody starts even today, however, as the sweet 16 square off in match play through Saturday. Bailey will have to win two matches today to advance to the Saturday morning semifinals.

The PN-G ex played steady golf to advance Thursday. He carded three birdies and three bogeys in shooting even par 71 in the morning round, then came back with three birdies and two bogeys for a one-under-70 in the afternoon.

Other than last year’s U.S. Amateur, the Western boasts the strongest field against which Bailey has competed. It is the third oldest amateur tournament, dating back to 1899. Only the British Amateur and U.S. Amateur have been played more times.

The strength of the field is underscored by the fact that two of the top five in medal play — Florida freshman Andy Zhang (third at 280) and Illinois senior Nick Hardy (tied for fourth at 281) — have played in a U.S. Open.