Peter Uihlein produced a bogey-free round on Friday in Puerto Rico. (Cohen/Getty Images)
By PGATOUR.COM staff
In the last six weeks, Peter Uihlein has played on four different professional golf tours in four different countries. After playing in this week's Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com on the PGA TOUR, Uihlein is scheduled to fly roughly 9,000 miles to an European Tour event in India next week.
"That'll be a short trek," he joked.
But he may not need to make it.
Uihlein, a past U.S. Amateur champion, could work his way into next week's Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank if he finishes in the top 10 in Puerto Rico. So far, so good, as he's 12 under through the first two rounds in Puerto Rico, a total that left him as the clubhouse leader when he finished midway through Friday's second round at Trump International.
"It's one of my favorite golf courses. I love Innisbrook," Uihlein said about the Tampa course, which he played in 2011 on a sponsor's exemption. "But as of right now, I'm scheduled to go to India, so we'll see."
His play in Puerto Rico is a continuation of how Uihlein has performed this season. In the previous five weeks, he's played five events, with four top-20 finishes, including a tie for fourth at last week's Tshwane Open in South Africa on the European Tour.
On Friday, he shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 to follow up his opening 67.
"I felt like I've been playing well for a little while," Uihlein said. "And you know, it's the sixth week for me and I feel like every week's been good. It's just a matter of my scoring clubs, taking advantage of those."
The 23-year-old Uihlein also knows he's still in the learning stage of his professional career. Finding himself in contention will only accelerate the learning curve. At the Joburg Open in February, he was in the top 10 in the first three rounds before finishing tied for 19th. Last week, he remained in contention in the final round.
"Having the lead or being around the lead again is great," Uihlein said. "It's the way you're going to get more comfortable at it. The only way you're going to get more comfortable at it is to keep doing it. So hope I can keep playing well, and I'm excited."
Patrick Cantlay earned his maiden victory on the Web.com Tour last week in Colombia. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By PGATOUR.COM staff
This week’s Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com boasts a strong field containing a mix of proven winners and young, up-and-coming players. Below is a glance at six players, aged 23 and younger, to keep an eye on this week at Trunp International.
Luke Guthrie (23) -- The Illinois alum and 2012 Web.com Tour graduate has racked up five top-30 finishes in his first seven starts this season. Last week at The Honda Classic, he finished alone in third place for the best finish of his young TOUR career.
Peter Uihlein (23) -- A former Oklahoma State standout and U.S. Amateur champion, Uihlein has posted four consecutive top-25 finishes on the European Tour and currently ranks 50th on its Order of Merit. Uihlein made 3 of 5 cuts in 2011 as an amateur playing on the PGA TOUR but was 0-for-2 last year after turning pro.
Ryo Ishikawa (21) -- In 49 events on TOUR, the young Japanese star has made less than half (24) of his cuts. One of those, however, was last year in Puerto Rico where he notched a career-best runner-up finish. Currenlty 188th in the FedExCup standings.
Patrick Cantlay (20) -- The Web.com Tour’s money leader, Cantlay earned his first professional victory last week at the Colombia Championship. He burst onto the scene in 2011 when, as an amateur, he carded a second-round 60 for the 36-hole lead at the PGA TOUR’s Travelers Championship.
Jordan Spieth (19) -- After a very successful amateur career that includes an NCAA team title at Texas, a No. 1 amateur ranking and low amateur honors at the 2012 U.S. Open, Spieth turned pro in December. He tied for 22nd at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am.
Si Woo Kim (17) -- Carded a closing 68 to earn his TOUR card with one shot to spare in the final round of q-school last year but cannot become a member until his 18th birthday in June. Missed the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am in his first-ever start on the PGA TOUR.
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- Patrick Cantlay followed up his opening-round 70 with a 1-under 69 on Friday -- meaning the 19-year-old amateur will once again make the cut.
At 1 under after 36 holes, Cantlay is also just six shots off the lead.
Cantlay is also just the ninth amateur since 1980 with three or more made cuts on the PGA TOUR -- Phil Mickelson leads the way with seven in 1991, which of course also included his win at the Northern Telecom Open.
The soon-to-be UCLA sophomore won’t be the only amateur playing the weekend. Peter Uihlein shot 73-69 and is tied for 50th.
BETHESDA, Md. -- Peter Uihlein, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, is arguably the most well-known of the 12 amateurs in the field at Congressional this week. UCLA freshman Peter Cantley, who recently received the Jack Nicklaus Award as the top collegian, is also putting his abundant talent on display.
And if Steve Irwin’s name sounds familiar, it should -- his father Hale, who will be in his gallery, is a three-time U.S. Open champ. Not to mention, there’s one amateur who already has a professional victory under his belt.
That’s Russell Henley, who became just the second amateur to win on the Nationwide Tour when he captured the Stadion Classic at UGA last month. He decided not turn pro because he wants to play on the Walker Cup team later this summer.
So Henley comes to Congressional looking for back-to-back low amateur titles at the U.S. Open. He tied for for 16th at Pebble Beach last year -- along with fellow am Scott Langley, who just graduated from Illinois but is not in the field this week.
Henley, who recently completed his senior year at Georgia, is the only one of the 12 amateurs in the field who has played in a U.S. Open. Here's a complete list:
|Michael Barbosa||28||Georgia Tech|
|Beau Hossler||16||Santa Margarita High School|
|Brett Patterson||19||Middle Tennessee State|
|Scott Pinckney||22||Arizona State|
|Peter Uihlein||21||Oklahoma State|
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Practice rounds with Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and David Chung on Saturday. Check.
Tee it up with Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson Sunday. Check.
Watch Oklahoma State teammates play -- and win -- Sunday afternoon at Forest Hills. Check. Check.
Monday? Don't ask. It's a blur. No, wait, Peter Uihlein said, that was a round with Fowler and Nathan Smith.
Tuesday it was Smith, Bo Van Pelt and Ryan Palmer. More young -- or young-ish -- guns.
Welcome to the world of the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, who'll be teeing it up with defending champ Phil Mickelson and former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy Thursday morning.
"I think just being here is pretty special,'' Uihlein said. "Any time you can go out in the Masters and play as an amateur, it doesn't get any better than that. That pretty much takes the cake.''
Uihlein rode out Monday night's storm in the Crow's Nest on the property, but has moved to a house -- a full house he added -- that will include OSU coach Alan Bratton and his wife and Uihlein's girlfriend.
"Just a lot of people are coming in,'' he said, " so I'm going to stay over there with them."
This is the first time Uihlein has been to Augusta National, but he's gotten some sound advice.
"Yeah, I've been told that a lot, to not burn out, not try and work too hard and overdo it,'' he said. " It's kind of hard, the facilities are so great you want to be out there all the time. Yesterday was perfect, it was windy but you definitely wanted to be out there and you can over prepare and things like that.
"I've been trying to take good advice and play early and take some naps and relax in the afternoon, so I'm not burned out by Thursday or Friday."
The shot he really couldn't wait to hit for the first time? Other, of course, than his first tee shot?
"Twelve,'' he said. "Twelve is obviously one of the trademark holes of golf, that's for sure. I think just hitting that shot was pretty cool.''
The result? Not so much.
"I hit it in the water the first time I played,'' he said, drawing a chuckle from the room. " Right pin, I went for it."
The first Masters the 21-year-old remembers watching? Tiger Woods' record-setting win in 1997.
"Actually it was on yesterday,'' he said. "I watched it again yesterday.
"He was hitting some short irons into those par 5s. That was pretty impressive. That was my first recollection."
Uihlein's goal this week?
"First and foremost have some fun, enjoy the experience and enjoy being out there with all of the patrons and everything, they are pretty special,'' he said. "Making the cut would be nice and being low amateur. That would be great but first and foremost, just have some fun.''
If he does make the cut? Well, then the dream is on.
"I think everybody kind of dreams of playing on Sunday afternoon at the Masters in contention. I think everybody has dreamt about it, at least one point in time."
That wouldn't just be a check. That would be an exclamation point.
Peter Uihlein dunks his 125-yard approach shot at the par-4 7th hole on the Copperhead Course for an eagle:
U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein makes his second eagle in three holes.
U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein has moved into the top 25 after eagling the par-5 fifth and the par-4 seventh. Uihlein, who will play in his first Masters in three weeks, eagled the seventh after holding out from 125 yards.
Uihlein, an Oklahoma State star who is making his second career PGA TOUR start, was already in good shape to make the cut after a 70 on Thursday.
Oklahoma State junior Peter Uihlein just wanted to see how his game stacked up against the pros this week at the Transitions Championship.
And early reports are very favorable as the reigning U.S. Amateur champ has played his first nine holes at the Copperhead Course in 2 under. He’s among 15 players tied for 12th, four strokes off the pace being set by Nick Watney.
Uihlein, the No. 1 ranked amateur in the country, started on the back nine and promptly rolled in a 15-footer for birdie at the par-5 11th. The 21-year-old added a 12-footer for birdie at the 18th hole.
“I feel like my game is pretty good coming into it, playing okay, and just to try and have some fun and enjoy it and really not have that much expectations,” Uihlein had said Wednesday prior to his first-round date with Chris Kirk and Tommy Gainey.
Uihlein, whose father Wally is the CEO of the Acushnet Company, will play in the Masters next month thanks to his win at last year’s Amateur. Among his playing partners there will be Phil Mickelson, the defending and three-time Masters champ.
Prior to the start of the Transitions Championship, Peter Uihlein addressed the media and discussed the difficulty of the Copperhead golf course.
Most college kids spend their spring break soaking up the sun on the beaches of Florida. But Peter Uihlein isn't just another weary student who wants to put away the books and chill out for a little while.
In fact, the Oklahoma State junior is getting some on-the-job training this week at the Transitions Championships. Uihlein, the reigning U.S. Amateur champ, will be playing in the PGA TOUR event on a sponsor's exemption.
"obviously I'm happy to get a spot," Uihlein said. "They are great to extend the invitation to me, and it's kind of a home course. I grew up down in Bradenton, which is only 40 minutes away from here. So to be up here and playing a lot, I know a lot of my friends are going to come out, and it should be pretty cool to play in front of them.
"I'm excited to play the Copperhead Course. It's a great track and I'm looking forward to it."
Uihlein is working toward a degree in economics at OSU, but he wants to play golf for a living. The Transitions Championship is his second PGA TOUR event -- Uihlein shot rounds of 72-74 at the 2006 Buick Championship -- and he's interested to see how his game measures up. He'll be playing in the Masters three weeks from now, as well.
"I just want to see where I match up and what I need to work on and things like that," said Uihlein, who added that he plans to return to Stillwater for his senior season. "I feel like my game is pretty good coming into it, playing okay, and just to try and have some fun and enjoy it and really not have that much expectations."
Uihlein has also been to Augusta National three times for practice rounds, most recently two weekends ago. Interestingly, though, Uihlein -- whose father Wally is the CEO of the Acushnet Company -- has never been the Masters as a spectator. He found the course a lot hillier than he expected when he played for the first time last October.
"I'm getting used to it a little bit more," said Uihlein, who broke par in his most recent practice round. "The greens, from what I keep getting told, are never really Augusta speed until the week of. So you know, kind of limits how much practicing you can do around the greens. But visually off the tee, it's been good. I've been able to work on some things and trying to get some shots there."
According to Masters custom, as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion Uihlein will play with defending champion Phil Mickelson in the first two rounds. He'd love for former Cowboy standout Rickie Fowler or one of the PGA TOUR’s other young guns to complete their threesome but regardless, Uihlein is just looking forward to the experience.
"That will be fun," Uihlein said. "Obviously (Phil's) a pretty good player. He know what is he's doing around there. But you know, that will be pretty good. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to seeing all of the crowds and how they react to him because he's obviously one of the fan favorites, so I think that will be pretty sweet." – Helen Ross