Mylan Classic notes: Smith sets sights on U.S. Amateur

Guy Boros drives the ball from the 10th tee during the second day of the Mylan Classic at Southpointe on Friday August 2, 2013.
Guy Boros drives the ball from the 10th tee during the second day of the Mylan Classic at Southpointe on Friday August 2, 2013.
Photo by Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
| Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, 8:09 p.m.

Nathan Smith missed the cut at the Mylan Classic but he could take consolation in one thing after shooting 75-72 at Southpointe Golf Club in Canonsburg: He won't have to walk hilly course for the final two rounds.

Smith can use the break to re-charge with the U.S. Amateur next up for the Allison Park resident.

Smith leaves for Brookline, Mass., Thursday, and he will tee it up in the championship that starts the following Monday and runs through Aug. 18.

The U.S. Amateur is one of the United States Golf Association's marquee events, and players like Smith have even more incentive to play well at The Country Club, a storied venue that has hosted a trio of U.S. Opens as well as a Ryder Cup.

Five spots are still available for the United States' Walker Cup team, and the USGA will round out the 10-man team shortly after the U.S. Amateur.

Smith, 34, has played in the last two Walker Cups — it is essentially a Ryder Cup for amateurs — and the reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion appears to be in good position to grab one of the five remaining spots on this year's team, which will play an Irish-Great Britain squad in September in Southampton, N.Y.

A strong showing at the U.S. Amateur would only help Smith's cause.

“I'd love to make the team because I love the captain (Jim Holtgrieve) and I love the site where they have it,” said Smith, who has won a record four U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships.

Smith was one of 12 college All-Americans or former Walker Cup players who received a special exemption to the Mylan Classic, and he rebounded from an opening 75 with a 1-over 72 on Friday.

Smith missed the cut by four strokes, but he couldn't say enough about the opportunity to play a Tour event in his backyard.

“I just came up a little bit short,” Smith said with a smile.

• Guy Boros turns 49 next month but that hasn't stopped him from keeping up with the youngsters through the first two rounds of the Mylan Classic.

Boros is four strokes off the lead after following an opening round 66 with a 69. A strong showing here would solidify Boros' standing among the top 75 on the Tour's money list. Boros is 62nd with $62,890, and the top 75 money winners by the end of the regular season qualify for the four postseason tournaments.

Boros is the son of World Golf Hall of Julius Boros, and he has won a handful of times in his career, including once on the PGA Tour. He said the rugged competition on the Tour is a reflection of how golf has changed over the years — particularly the perception of it. “All of my buddies made fun of me because I played golf,” Boros recalled of his childhood. “They were calling me names and stuff. Ten, 15 years later they all wanted to go play golf. Now it's a cool thing to play when you're growing up.”

• Andres Echavarria missed the cut by four strokes but the Colombia native put on quite a charge during his final nine holes at Southpointe. Echavarria tied a nine-hole record by shooting 29 on the front side at Southpointe. The former University of Florida standout needed just 14 strokes to complete his final five holes, penciling in 2-3-3-3-3 on his scorecard and finishing with a 3-under 67. Echavarria's undoing? He shot 80 in the first round.

• Tiger Woods flirted with a 59 Friday in the second round of the Bridgestone Invitational — a hallowed number that appeared on two different scorecards recently on the Tour. Russell Knox shot 59 last week at the Boise Open. Will Wilcox shot the same score two weeks earlier at the Utah Open. There have been five 59s shot on the Tour (formally Nationwide Tour) and five on the PGA Tour. Woods shot 61 at Bridgestone Friday.

— Scott Brown

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