Thursday was cut day at the Southern Amateur, and Cole Hammer isn’t going anywhere. He played as well as anyone did in the second round at Maridoe Golf Club in Carollton, Texas, and a 5-under 67 left him within five shots of the top of the leaderboard.
Maridoe can tip out over 8,000 yards, but it’s not playing anywhere near that this week. It’s still a ballstriker’s golf course, and if you’re not hitting the ball well, forget about scoring.
“It’s north of Dallas and the wind really gets up and makes it hard,” Hammer explained. “The fairways are tight and firm and the rough is really thick and then the greens are small.”
Scores: Southern Amateur
Hammer had five birdies and an eagle on his card. So far, he has walked and carried his own bag at Maridoe, even though it’s “like 100 degrees and feels like 130.” He may convince a buddy to carry his bag for the second half of the event.
The Southern Amateur, despite being in his native Texas, was a bit of a late add for Hammer. This global pandemic changed everything on his schedule, from up-ending the spring college season to knocking out the Northeast Amateur last month, a tournament he always looks forward to playing (and one in which he finished fourth last summer).
After Maridoe, he plans to play the Sunnehanna, the Western Amateur and the U.S. Amateur. Technically, there will be a few extra days off between the latter two events. Two weeks on and one week off is more his style but these days, when you can play, you play.
Two weeks ago at Pinehurst, Hammer found himself one shot out of the North & South Amateur match-play bracket. He had visions of missing last summer’s U.S. Amateur match play by cut by one shot, too.
“I feel like Pinehurst is a good course for me,” Hammer said. “I just somehow managed to miss the cut by one both times.”
After Hammer won the 2018 Western Amateur, he had an explosive freshman year for the Longhorns. His last tournament title was at the 2019 NCAA Austin Regional. When quarantine started, Hammer admitted he wasn’t hitting the ball all that great. Many players have been able to find a silver lining in the unexpected events of 2020, and for Hammer, that was having a bit of breathing room to straighten things out.
“It was kind of everything honestly. I just wasn’t hitting it very solid. I was not in the best position on my downswing,” he said. “I just had a couple things to iron out. It really wasn’t that big of a deal. I just didn’t feel comfortable over the ball and that’s changed, thankfully.”
His performance so far at Maridoe may suggest that things are trending in the right direction.
At the top of the leaderboard through two rounds, Pepperdine sophomore William Mouw has built a one-shot cushion on David Perkins. Both men fired a second-round 67. Mouw is at 8 under after his opening 69.
Maridoe member Pierceson Coody is 6 under. Coody is tournament-tested at his home course, having won the Trans-Miss Amateur here a year ago this week.
A strong Texas presence at the top of the leaderboard also includes teammate Travis Vick, a Houston native, at 4 under. Hammer is tied with Texas commit Tommy Morrison, a 15-year-old who also is a member here and is making his fourth competitive start at Maridoe in the past three months.
The cut fell at 5 over, with SMU’s Noah Norton, Oklahoma head coach Ryan Hybl and North & South runner-up Will Holcomb among those on the wrong side.