LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. (December 29, 2016) – Andrew Whalen from Northwestern University shot an opening round 5-under-par 65 to lead The Patriot All-America Invitational on the Gold Course at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Ariz. Defending Patriot All-America champion Braden Thornberry sits one-shot back after firing a 4-under-par 66. Two golfers are two shots back after shooting opening-round 67s including John Oda from UNLV and Zachary Olsen from Oklahoma State.
Whalen, a senior from Ephrata, Wash., shot a bogey-free round that included five birdies and 13 pars. Whalen is currently ranked 97th on the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking.
“I got off to a good start,” said Whalen, who parred the first two holes and then birdied the par-3 third hole. “I just didn’t get in trouble. I made some good up and downs to keep the momentum going and then just dropped some putts.”
Thornberry’s round included four birdies on the front nine, including three straight on holes No. 4, 5 and 6 and two birdies over the final three holes on 16 and 18. The University of Mississippi sophomore is currently ranked 71st on the Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking.
“I hit it well all day,” said Thornberry. “I’ve never really played a bad round on this course so it gives me confidence going into the next day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Other notable scores from the first round of the 2016 Patriot All-America include: Braden Bailey from Baylor -1 (69), Sean Crocker from Southern California +3 (73), Nick Hardy from Illinois E (70), Cheng Jin from Southern California +2 (72), Nahum Mendoza III from San Diego State +1 (71) and Alejandro Tosti from Florida E (70).
Second round action will begin at 9:30 AM off both the 1st and 10th tees. For more information, visit www.patriotallamerica.com.
Top 10 Results From 1st Round:
Pos. Name 1st Round Score
1 Whalen, Andrew -5
2 Thornberry, Braden -4
T3 Oda, John -3
T3 Olsen, Zachary -3
T5 Gil, Tony -2
T5 Theegala, Sahith -2
T5 Champ, Cameron -2
T5 Hodges, Lee -2
T5 Gumberg, Jordan -2
T10 Bailey, Braden -1
T10 Suppa, Kyle -1
Patriot All-America Invitational
1st Round Quotes
Opening Round Leader Andrew Whalen:
On what went well during the 1st round:
I got off to a good start. I made some good up and downs to keep the momentum going and then just dropped some putts.
On being 3-under on the back nine, including a birdie on the par-3 11th hole:
I just didn’t get in trouble. I made some good putts. Missed a couple of short ones, but also made some long ones too so I can’t worry about that.
On the plan for the next two rounds:
Just to try to finish and follow this round up.
Defending Champion Braden Thornberry:
On his opening round 4-under 66 as the defending champion:
It feels pretty good. I’ve never really played a bad round on this course so it kinda gives you confidence going into the next day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
On his three straight birdies on the front 9 and strong finish:
I hit it well all day. The putter kinda left me a little on the back. I was hitting good shots in there and was able to capitalize early. It was good to get off to a good start. I kinda faltered a little bit in the middle of the round, but got it back in the end.
On the golf course:
I think it’s in better shape than it was last year. Last year, it wasn’t bad, but I think they did more of the overseed rye grass or something. The fairways are sweet and they put that little first cut thing. I like that a lot. I think it’s a lot better than last year. It looks good.
On his plan going into the next few rounds:
I don’t know what the scores were like today, but I’d have to think that I’m probably tied or right around the lead. I’m just going to go from here and try to take it one shot at a time. If you go out there and play good each day, it will take care of itself.