11 Aug 2020 | Amateur golf |

Trent shines in blustery Oregon opener

by Mark Hayes

Lukas Michel's bunker shot on the 15th at Bandon Trails exhibits perfectly the strength of the Oregon wind. Picture: USGA / Steven Gibbons
Lukas Michel's bunker shot on the 15th at Bandon Trails exhibits perfectly the strength of the Oregon wind. Picture: USGA / Steven Gibbons

Lukas Michel is a self-confessed golf nerd who has played around the world.

When he tells you that his experience today at Bandon, Oregon in the US Amateur was "incredibly brutal", it's hard not to take notice.

There are four Aussies in the field this week, with Michel one of three of them to sit at four over with work to do tomorrow to make the match play phase.

He, Perth's Connor McKinney and Adelaide's Lachie Barker are in a share of 126th after day one, with the top 64 after day two to reach the knockout section.

But it's not all tough news for the Aussie contingent with Queenslander Jack Trent carding a sensational three-under round at Bandon Dunes to sit in a share of seventh.

Trent, who made the cut on his Australian Open debut last year, amazingly peeled off seven birdies today, with only a triple-bogey six on his sixth hole costing him an even loftier perch.

The Las-Vegas based Aussie's round included some great long putts, including two from outside 10m.

"It was just kind of like unconscious stuff," Trent said.

"I wasn't even trying to do it, it just kind of happened."

Trent, though, along with the vast majority of the leaders, played in the morning when the winds were relatively calm.

Michel took great solace in that fact, with his round coming on the tougher Trails Course and in the height of the afternoon winds.

"I'd say it would have to been 3-4 shots tougher this afternoon ... that was windier than any tournament I've played, including St Andrews Links and Dunes Medal, anything," the Victorian said.

"The courses are brilliant, but they're right on clifftops (next to the Pacific Ocean) and it just howls.

"Hopefully tomorrow morning I won't get screwed and it will be calm - the courses are set up to be hard, but they should be scoreable if it's not too windy."

The four closing holes at Trails, directly into a stiff wind this afternoon, were among the five hardest on the course.

So while Michel, the reigning US Mid-Amateur champion, wasn't thrilled with his string of four bogeys from the 13th, he was happy to have closed with two pars.

"I was two under at the turn and going well have played the `downwind' side," the long-hitting Melburnian said.

"But it was tough out on the back nine and I was happy to close with those two pars.

"I hit a 5-iron to the middle of the (par-3) 17th and two-putted, then I hit a full 8-iron from 105m on the last and it ripped back off the green, but I managed to two-putt."

The only real blemish on Michel's card came with what he called a "soft" double-bogey on the 11th after his approach rolled up against the collar of long rough behind the green.

McKinney endured something similar at the Dunes Course, with a triple-bogey seven on the 11th hole spoiling an otherwise solid round.

And Barker had been cruising at one under through 14 holes until back-to-back doubles spoiled his card.

McKinney, Barker and Trent all have afternoon rounds ahead on day two.

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