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Headline: Longmeadow's Billy Walthouse's Bid for U.S. Amateur Championship Comes Up Short in the Round of 32 at Bel-Air Country Club
For Immediate Release: August 17, 2017
Los Angeles, CA — Earlier this week, 312 of the top amateur players from across the United States and the world traveled to California for the 117th playing of the U.S. Amateur Championship, including Massachusetts natives Billy Walthouse (Longmeadow) and Mike Calef (West Bridgewater), at The Riviera Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club.
Competing in two rounds of stroke play, with the hopes of advancing to match play which began Wednesday, Walthouse carded a 3-over par 73 on the first day at Bel-Air Country Club then finished at 1-over par 71 in the second to finish the stroke play portion of competition at 4-over par 144, which put the 22-year old Walthouse in a 13-for-8 playoff that started Wednesday morning.
Walthouse, competing in the second U.S. Amateur of his career, only needed one hole in the playoff to advance to match play after he carded an even-par four on the 10th hole, which played at 327 yards.
Seeded as the No. 63 player in match play, the 2017 University of Rhode Island graduate was paired against Norman Xiong, the Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year for the University of Oregon and a 2017 Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year semifinalist. Xiong was ranked No. 2 in match play after completing the two-round stroke play event at 6-under 134. Xiong also won the Western Amateur Championship earlier this month.
Despite the difference in rank, Walthouse took advantage of his opponent’s bogey on the second hole to take his first lead of the day in the Round of 64 and extended that lead to as many as 4-up through 12 holes. Although Xiong won both Holes 16 and 17 to bring the match to 1-up with one hole remaining, Walthouse made birdie on the 18th hole to secure his victory and advance to the Round of 32.
In the Round of 32, Walthouse was squared against rising University of Southern California sophomore Cheng Jin, the top-ranked amateur in China and among the top 20 amateurs in the world, who won both the 2015 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and the PGA Tour China's 2014 Nine Dragons Open.
Jin birdied the second hole to go 1-up and extended that lead to as many as 6-up through 12 holes. Walthouse won the 13th hole by making par to Jin’s bogey, but saw the match close by a final score of 5&4 when both opponents made par on the 14th hole.
For Walthouse, whose 2017 resume includes winning the Hornblower Memorial Golf Tournament, finishing tied as the low-amateur at the Massachusetts Open Championship, placing tied for second at the New England Amateur, advancing to the semifinal round of the Massachusetts Amateur Championship, and advancing to match play of the U.S. Amateur Four Ball Championship, immediate future plans have not been known. However, MassLive.com is reporting that he will turn professional following the tournament and that he will compete in the pre-qualifying stage of the Web.com Tour’s Qualifying Tournament in Nebraska at the end of the month.
Massachusetts second competitor in the U.S. Amateur, Mike Calef, shot 84-80-164 and missed the cut for the match play portion of the event. Calef also competed in the New England Amateur Championship earlier this summer.
For more information and coverage of the U.S. Amateur Championship, visit usga.org.