Wilson goes from 62 to 74, but hangs on to medalist honors at U.S. Amateur

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Associated Press

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Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | 12:59 a.m.

Jeff Wilson shot a 3-over 74 over the difficult Chambers Course at Chambers Bay to win the stroke-play portion of the 110th U.S. Amateur by one shot over two players on Tuesday.

The 47-year-old auto dealer from Fairfield, Calif., lost most of a seven-stroke lead but hung on to finish ahead of 18-year-olds Patrick Cantlay from Los Alamitos, Calif., and Patrick Rodgers from Avon, Ind.

Cantlay who plans to attend UCLA, shot the best round of the day, a 5-under-par 67 at the easier Home Course for a 36-hole 137 score. Rodgers shot a 68.

Starting Wednesday, five days of match play over the Chambers Course will determine the champion. The Chambers Course is scheduled to host the U.S. Open in 2015.

Wilson shot a 10-under 62 Monday on the Home Course. Tuesday’s 7,742-yard Chambers Bay layout was the longest in U.S. Amateur history.

Rogers, who will attend Stanford, is the only golfer in the field with two sub-70 rounds. He shot a 2-under 69 at Chambers on Monday.

Wilson, a three-time medalist at the Mid-Amateur and 2008 U.S. Amateur medalist, said after Monday’s round he had a restless night.

“I’m tossing and turning all night wondering how I’m going to grind it out today,” Wilson said. “My cell phone was blown up last night. It was a lot of fun to talk about. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime round.”

It was the second-lowest medal-play round in the championship’s history, exceeded only by a 12-under 60 by Billy Horschel at the 2006 Amateur at Chaska, Minn.

Wilson had a 29 on his back nine, matching the event’s lowest nine-hole score ever.

Two golfers are tied for fourth at 3-under 140, Justin Thomas of Goshen Ky., and Andres Echavarria of Colombia.

Thomas, who will play for Alabama next year, shot a 69 at Chambers, matching the best round on that course Tuesday.

“I knew the USGA wouldn’t be messing around when it comes to setting the course up,” Thomas said. “Everything is unbelievable. It is like I expected. I didn’t think this course would be this hard or this immaculate. It is just so perfect. The lines are so tight it is ridiculous.”

The 22-year-old Echavarria, who grew up in Medellin and now attends Florida, is a former South America Junior champion. He had a 4-under 68 at the Home Course.

Eric Chun of South Korea was the only other player to break par. He finished sixth place at 1-under 142. Chun, a junior at Northwestern who played in the British Open this year, shot a 3-under 69 at The Home Course.

Defending champion Byeong-Hun An made the field of 64 but struggled to shoot a 77 at Chambers and was tied for 40th.

The 16 players tied for the final six spots will play hole-by-hole eliminations on Nos. 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18 Wednesday until there’s only six of them left.