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Blair Advances With World’s Top Amateurs at Western Am

GLENVIEW, Illinois (August 3, 2011) – Chris Williams shot his second consecutive 5-under par 66 Wednesday to take a three-stroke lead over Jordan Spieth after two rounds of stroke play at the 109th Western Amateur at North Shore Country Club.The 20-year-old native of Moscow, Idaho, stands at 10-under par after making six birdies and a single bogey on the strength of driving accuracy, hitting greens in regulation, and taking only 28 putts over 18 holes.“It wasn’t anything too special,” said Williams, a sophomore at Washington. “A birdie here, a birdie there, and only one bogey.  It could have been a lot lower.”Meanwhile, Spieth, 18, the two-time U.S. Junior champion from Dallas, shot 2-under 69, dropping a 20-foot putt for birdie on the 18th hole.“I’m very happy to be a couple under par at this point,” said Spieth, who will be a freshman at Texas in another month. “I love this kind of bentgrass, and I love the greens around here.”  Over 36 holes, two of Spieth’s four bogeys have come on the par 3, 181-yard No. 3 hole.The cut to the low 44 and ties came in at 2-over par.  A total of 55 players will play 36 holes Thursday to determine which 16 will continue on to match play.
Utah’s Zac Blair was among those who made the cut. He shot rounds of 72-70-142. The world’s top four amateurs all made the cut, including No. 1 Patrick Cantlay, whose 4-under 67 boosted him into a tie for ninth from a tie for 67th, the biggest move of the day. Cantlay is tied at 2-under with No. 2 Peter Uihlein, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, who shot 1-under par on Wednesday.No. 3 Tom Lewis and No. 4 Russell Henley were just inside the cut line at 2-over after Lewis recorded his second straight round of 1-over par, and Henley shot 3-over.In a three-way tie for third at 5-under are UNLV senior Derek Ernst, Stanford junior Andrew Yun, and Argentinean 17-year-old Emilio Grillo.2009 Western Amateur champion and Mid-America Conference Player of the Year John Hahn is tied for sixth after he shot 3-under 68. Meanwhile, defending champion David Chung shot even par and is tied for 28th at 1-over.Players said the greens were rolling perfectly Wednesday and that the course played somewhat “soft” as a result of a powerful Tuesday night storm that dropped an inch of rain on the 7,067-yard track.The high rough was a factor, too, especially on tee shots, players said.“It’s the worst rough we’ve played all year, worse than the U.S. Open,” according to Williams, who puts a premium on accuracy rather than distance off the tee.“A lot of the tournaments we play are like putting contests, but this is more like a driving contest,” Williams said.  “If you hit every fairway, you’re probably going to hit every green as well.  I’ve always been kind of short, straight, and boring, people would say, but that’s what you need out here.”