Charles Osborne bookended his second round of the U.S. Amateur, at Bandon Trails in Bandon Dunes, Oregon, in a rather lackluster way. The SMU junior had a bogey at the first and back-to-back bogeys to close.
But oh, how glorious it was in between.
Osborne erased his opening-hole mistake with a birdie at the par-5 fifth hole on Trails, the most inland course among the Bandon line-up, and the one with arguably the most Oregon-ey feel of them all. His birdie two holes later at the fifth hole kicked off a stretch six consecutive birdies. He added three more from Nos. 14-16 before coming back with bogeys at Nos. 17 and 18 to finish with a 7-under 64 that tied the competitive course record set a day earlier by Oklahoma State player Aman Gupta.
The most interesting thing about Osborne’s day, perhaps, was that he was just coming off an opening 77 on Bandon Dunes. The 20-year-old said he didn’t feel like he even played all that badly in his opening round on the opposite course.
Chalk that up to the wind. Osborne, who also goes by Ollie, teed off in the first round at 1:03 p.m. In other words, he was in one of the last groups to go off. Scores in the afternoon wave were considerably higher, even though the two courses had nearly identical stroke averages on the opening day: 75.58 for Bandon Dunes and 75.60 for Bandon Trails.
“I kind of turned on the back nine, and on 11 I think the wind was blowing easily 35 into, and that’s how it stayed on the back nine,” he explained. “I actually played good golf and liked how I was swinging, so I came out here and did the same thing. The course was – like it’s in the trees and then the wind was down this morning, so happy to take advantage of it, and the putter was rolling, too.”
Osborne’s precision with his approach shots allowed him to go deep on Bandon Trails. He said he hit nearly everything to 10 or 15 feet, and then the putts started dropping.
The round could have even been lower. After sticking a 9-iron to inside 20 feet on No. 9, he burned the edge for eagle.
By the time he was done, Osborne was 2 under for stroke play and safely into match play. He was a handful of shots behind SMU teammate McClure Meissner, who had carved out a share of the first-round lead and was still playing his way around Trails.
Osborne, a Reno, Nevada, native ranked No. 463 in the world, finished fourth individually at The Prestige in February. It’s one of the deepest fields in college golf. He won the Royal Oaks Collegiate in October.
“Before in Reno there’s not a lot of competition, so it was really fun to go down to Texas and actually see some players that can kind of kick you around a little bit,” he said. “It was humbling, but it also made me a lot better as a player.”
So much of being successful this week will depend on the ability to control ball flight and manage high winds, particularly once match play sends the entire 64-man bracket back to Bandon Dunes for the remainder of the week.
Meissner, the other SMU player, brought a little of his Texas upbringing to Bandon this week, and it made all the difference in the first round. Meissner fired his round of 8-under 64 on Bandon Dunes, but had the luxury of a 9:01 a.m. tee time.
Still, he knows what to do this week.
“So I was talking to some of the guys in my group today,” Meissner said after Monday’s first round, “and I was like, yeah, in the springtime in Dallas, it blows 15, 20, 25, so it feels – although I don’t play this grass a lot – it feels like a home game for me just because I’m able to kind of be creative. That’s kind of where I excel.”
How to watch
Wednesday Aug. 5 (Round of 64 matches): 6-7 p.m., Peacock (streaming); 7-9 p.m., Golf Channel
Thursday, Aug. 6 (Round of 16 matches): 6-7 p.m., Peacock; 7-9 p.m., Golf Channel
Friday, Aug. 7 (Quarterfinals matches): 6-7 p.m., Peacock; 7-9 p.m., Golf Channel
Saturday, Aug. 8 (Semifinal matches): 7-10 p.m., Golf Channel
Sunday, Aug. 9 (Championship match): 7-10 p.m., Golf Channel