Stratham, N.H. – Shintaro Ban, 16, of San Jose, Calif., fired a 69 on Tuesday for a 36-hole total of 141, three under par, to take the clubhouse lead for medalist honors at the 2012 U.S. Junior Amateur being conducted at the 7,125-yard, par-72 Golf Club of New England.
With half the field of 156 players still on the course, Ban had a one-stroke lead over Carter Jenkins, 17, of Raleigh, N.C., and Andrew Bonner, 17, of Ripon, Calif. Jenkins is at 73-69—142. Bonner shot 70-72—142, rebounding from a 4-over-par 40 on his first nine to shoot 4-under-par 32 on his final nine.
Ban is playing in his first USGA championship but has a host of experience in match play. The low 64 stroke-play qualifiers begin match play on Wednesday. Ban defeated Bonner in the 2012 Ripon Match Play tournament in northern California and has enjoyed success in other match-play events.
For match play, what I do is kind of study my opponent for the first three holes and just see how they do and try to compete with that, said Ban, an incoming high school senior. I also play my game, hit fairways and greens and just two-putt. I learned that at home.
Ban birdied four of his first seven holes on putts ranging from 3 to 30 feet and added a birdie at the 14th hole before making bogeys at the 15th and 18th holes.
Shooting under par is all I ever asked for, Ban said, especially in a USGA event.
Bonner shot a 4-over-par 40 on on his first nine and was two over par for the championship when he made the turn to the outward nine. He then birdied four of the next eight holes.
Obviously I don’t like to start out like that, but I’ve always been known to be a grinder and I never quit, Bonner said. I knew I could always come back. I never get discouraged. I know I’m a better player than that and I can turn it around when I need to.
Bonner made an 8-foot birdie putt on the first hole, his 10th hole of the day, a 15-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole and two-putted from 25 feet on the fifth. His longest birdie putt of the day was a 27-footer on the eighth hole.
Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo, Calif., also bounced back. After an opening round of 77 he had a five-birdie performance and a 71 for a 36-hole total of 148, four over par. With half the players still on the course, Hossler seemed well within the cut-line in the mid-afternoon.
Hossler, 17, who captured fans with his play at the 2012 U.S. Open, said he thought about the cut throughout his second round. I want to make sure I don’t let shots go, said Hossler. That can cost you the tournament. For me, I just like to know where I am.
Chelso Barrett, 17, of Keene, N.H., the runner-up in the 2011 Junior Amateur, seemed likely to miss the cut after finishing at 10-over 154.
Rhonda Glenn is a manager of communications for the USGA. Email ger at email@example.com.