KARACHI: Omar Khalid Hussain, Pakistan's top amateur, made history on Wednesday when he became the first Pakistani golfer to make the cut at the 74th US Junior Amateur Golf Champion at Bandon Dunes in Oregon, United States.
Omar, 18, was in top gear in the second and final round of stroke play as he made seven birdies to card a superb score of two-under-par 70 at the windy Bandon Dune course. His heroics were enough for Omar to make the cut with a two-day aggregate of 143 after having posted 73 at the Bandon Trails course on Tuesday.
Omar's compatriot Yashal Shah who carded 75 on the opening day at Bandon Trails finished with a score of 77 in the second round at Bandon Dunes to fall out of the race for qualification to the match play stage of what is considered the most prestigious junior championship in international golf.
Omar, who needed to finish among the top 64 players in a field of 264 top-ranked juniors from 25 nations to make it to match play, ended at 48th spot after posting an even-par total in 36-holes. The cut for match play came at 1-over-par 144.
A student of A levels at Karachi's Nixor College, Omar made seven birdies against three bogies and a double bogey during his round. He made birdies on holes 3, 7, 8, 10, 13, 16 and 18.
"The conditions were quite challenging but I knew that to make the cut I had to take my chances," Omar said. "The tee-offs were delayed for more than two hous due to heavy fog but once the round began I was completely focussed on giving my best."
Omar, who now faces US's Caden Pinckes in the round of 64. A seasoned player, Pinckes was in full flow in the stroke play rounds and finished with an agregate of 138 (-5).
By qualifying for the round of 64, Omar has made history. And the fact was duly highlighted by United States Golf Association (USGA) on its official website.
"Omar Khalid Hussain, 18, became the first golfer from Pakistan to make a cut in any USGA championship. Hussain, who competed in this year’s British Amateur, posted an even-par total of 143. Two years ago, he became the youngest winner of the Pakistan Amateur at 16," the USGA, which hosts several prestigious championships including the US Open, posted on its website.
Meanwhile, US's Keaton Vo earned the medallist honour by posting the best aggregate score in the stroke play stage of the championship. He equalled the course record by carding 65 at Bandon Dunes to finish with a 36-hole total of 9-under 134.
The start of the second round was delayed 2½ hours due to fog that caused several holes to be visually unplayable.
Defending champion Nick Dunlap of the US made match-play after posting a 71 at Bandon Dunes for a 36-hole total of 141. Last year’s semifinalists, Luke Potter and Luke Clanton from the US also qualified with totals of 138 and 142, respectively.
The cut for match play came at 1-over-par 144. Eleven players, who finished at 1 over, will play off for the last five spots in the match-play draw.
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