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Wu battles back in first round of US Am

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Dylan Wu, of Medford, finished his opening round of qualifying with a bang in the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship Monday and was tied for 45th place.

Wu, who starred at St. Mary's High and will be a senior at Northwestern, played his final four holes in 3 under, thanks in part to an eagle, at Bel Air Country Club. He ended up with a 1-over 71. He started on the 10th tee, bogeyed four of his first six holes, then played his final 12 in 3 under.

The second and final round of stroke play is Tuesday, after which the 312-man field will be cut to the top 64. Six rounds of match play begin Wednesday. The championship concludes with a 36-hole final on Sunday.

The tournament is being hosted by Riviera Country Club, where half the field played Monday. It will be televised on FS1 Wednesday through Friday and on FOX on Saturday and Sunday.

Oregon sophomore Norman Xiong, of San Diego, California, who won the Western Amateur two weeks ago, finished Round 1 in a three-way tie for the lead. He, Mark Lawrence Jr., of Richmond, Virginia, and Hayden Wood, of Edmond, Oklahoma, each posted 6-under 64s to share a two-stroke lead over the field.

Wu kick-started his surge with his first birdie on his 11th hole, No. 2. He gave that stroke back with a bogey at No. 4, then birdied the sixth hole and eagled the 506-yard eighth.

Wu qualified for the Amateur by shooting a 6-under 66 a little over a month ago at The Village Links of Glen Ellyn in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Two players who qualified at Medford's Centennial Golf Club are also in the field. Brian Humphreys, the top qualifier here, shot a 6-over 76 at Riviera. Edwin Yi, also at Riviera and an Oregon player, was one shot better at 75.

Xiong, who won the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top freshman in 2017, fashioned a bogey-free round with six birdies, three on each nine, at Riviera.

Wood, 21, a junior at Oklahoma State University and the son of Willie Wood, the 1977 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and current PGA Tour Champions competitor, notched seven birdies against a bogey at Riviera.

Lawrence, 20, a junior at Virginia Tech who shared the team’s player of the year award, posted two eagles (on Holes 1 and 8), three birdies and a bogey at Bel-Air Country Club.

Xiong, who also earned stroke-play medalist honors at the Western Amateur, took some time off after that grueling victory.

“I knew I was playing well, but that tournament took so much out of me,” said Xiong, who was a first-team all-Pac-12 selection and the Pac-12 freshman of the year. “I had to rest for a long time. The only golf I've played since then was the last two practice rounds.”

Xiong, who is No. 9 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, was sharp despite the layoff.

“I just went out and played my game,” he said. "I just tried to keep it in play, hit a lot of greens, give myself a lot of chances. I didn't want to shoot myself out the first day. My main goal was to make it to match play. That's what this tournament is about, so that was my expectation, just to get in.”

Charleston Southern University senior Arthur Griffin, 21, of Lake Placid, New York, posted a 4-under 66 at Bel-Air that included an eagle, six birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey to trail the leaders by two strokes.

Two players were three strokes behind: Georgia Tech sophomore Andy Ogletree, of Little Rock, Mississippi, and University of Texas senior Doug Ghim, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, who posted 3-under 67s at Riviera.

Only 27 players broke par — 11 at Riviera and 16 at Bel-Air.

Wu