NEWTON, Kansas – Rico Hoey felt right at home in the ideal weather conditions Tuesday in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, shooting a 64 to tie for medalist honors.
Temperatures were around 80 with a gentle breeze, both highly unusual in Kansas in July. Hoey, a California native who plays at Southern California, shot a 7-under-par 64 to go 8 under after two rounds of stroke play at Sand Creek Station.
That tied Hoey with Byron Meth, Doug Ghim and Zane Thomas. The 156-player field was cut to 64 for match play, which begins Wednesday.
Hoey's 64 was the best score in stroke play. After starting the day with four straight pars, Hoey birdied three of his next four holes. He also birdied three of his final four holes to shoot 32 on each side.
Ghim, who is from Illinois and signed to play at Texas, shot a 65. Bogeying No. 18 kept him from sole possession of first place.
Thomas, who entered the day tied for the lead at 5 under, survived a rough start. After birdieing the ultra-tough No. 10 to start his round, he had three bogeys in a five-hole stretch before making the turn. But four birdies in his final 10 holes gave him a solid 68.
The other first-round co-leaders, Michael Colgate and Garrett Rank, each shot a 75 in the second round, falling into a tie for 17th place.
The 89th U.S. Amateur Public Links will be the last. The United States Golf Association will replace it with national four-ball competitions next year.