Talk about overcoming adversity.
One day after he recorded five bogeys, Peter Williamson of Hanover converted five birdies Tuesday, including three straight, for a three-under 67 in the 112th United States Amateur Championship in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.
Williamson is one of 17 players who will compete in a special playoff this morning for the final 13 spots for a match play berth.
Williamson’s two-day 76-67-143 score placed him in an overall tie for 52nd place in a field of 312.
Unfortunately the other four Granite State golfers in the field of 312 missed the cut at 143.
James Pleat of Nashua, who had the best first round score among his state rivals, tumbled with a four-over-par performance yesterday, finishing with a final five-over 72-74-146. Pleat missed the cut by one stroke last year in the U.S. Amateur Championship in Erin, Wis.
His father, Phil Pleat of Nashua, did not record a second-round score after shooting 82 on Monday.
Nick McLaughlin of New Castle, who was one-under at the turn yesterday, crumbled on the back side with two double bogeys and three bogeys to finish at 73-76-149. Chelso Barrett of Keene ended at 77-73-150.
Williamson playing on the Common Grounds Golf Course said the turning point yesterday was when he saved par on hole 16. “I hit a terrible tee shot that landed behind a tree and fortunately I punched out for a good birdie try before settling for par,” he said. “After that I started building some momentem.”
Starting his second day round on the 10th tee, he birdied the par 3, 17th hole and the par 5, 18th. He made the turn and quickly birdied the par four, first hole.
“At that point I felt right where I should be,” said the three-time Ivy League champ from Dartmouth College. “I’m a better putter when I know the speed of the greens. I was feeling good from that point on.”
He bogeyed the seventh hole, birdied the eighth and nearly ended the day with a birdie on nine before his ball lipped out at the last second.
“That would have been nice to go four-under and avoid the tie I’m in, but no complaints,” said Williamson, who struggled on the Cherry Hill course Monday with a 76 score.
“Believe me that score on Monday could have been higher,” said Williamson. “I couldn’t hit a fairway to save my life Monday, maybe I hit three at the most that day. When you don’t get on the greens, it becomes especially harder to build any momentum. I knew after Monday I was still in this thing because I knew Common Grounds was a scoreable course and it played out that way today. If I shoot the way I should, I should easily shoot under par at Cherry Hills. The first seven holes there are short, but the back nine are generally long and tough. I need to adjust some things there.”
Williamson, who won the North-South Amateur this summer and was a semifinalist in the Western Open after losing a 20-hole match play event, has been bothered by a lingering knee pain.
“It’s a muscle strain which has bothered me since the last day at the Western,” said Williamson. “I’ve basically ignored the pain. I’ll be fine when I can rest it for about two weeks. It just tightens up on me at times and hopefully it won’t do it that often this week. But I’m not going to use it as an excuse if I don’t play well the rest of the way here.”