SUGAR GROVE, Ill. (Aug. 4, 2015) … With five Texas Longhorns in the field, many might have guessed that a player in burnt orange would at one point lead the 2015 Western Amateur but they might not have predicted that someone would be Taylor Funk, a 19-year-old sophomore from Ponte Vedre, Florida.
Perhaps less talked about than his teammates — who include defending Western Amateur champion Beau Hossler and 2015 Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman of the Year Award winner Scottie Scheffler — Funk followed up an opening round 4-under 68 with a 5-under 67 on Wednesday and claimed sole possession of the second round lead.
Funk’s score was the third-lowest of the morning wave, which began at 7:00am.
The lowest round of the morning — and of the tournament so far — belonged to recent Pacific Coast Amateur champion and Oregon Duck Aaron Wise. At the conclusion of the afternoon round, the number of contestants will be cut to the low 44 and ties.
Wise, 19, of Lake Elsinore, California, bettered his opening round score of 76 by 12 strokes and finished 8-under 64 on the day. The score is the new competitive course record at Rich Harvest Farms.
“I got off to a hot start and was able to keep the ball in the fairways, which is a big deal out here,” Wise said. “This isn’t a course that you necessarily have to learn. The course is out there in front of you … but you’ve got to hit it straight. The fescue comes in quick and there’s trees, too, that can block you out. Hitting it straight is a big key for me this week.”
The record-breaking round helped propel Wise from 96th to 6th place as the afternoon wave began.
Harrison Endycott, 19, of Sydney, Australia, made a similarly impressive jump up the leaderboard Wednesday, catapulting from 36th place to 2nd on the heels of a 6-under 66 that, for about 15 minutes, was the new course record.
Now a lock to make the 36-hole cut, Endycott said he is not yet thinking about securing a spot the Sweet 16, which will be set Thursday following 36 more holes of stroke play.
“That would be great but that’s way at the end of the week,” Endycott said. “I can’t worry about that right now. I’m just going to take it a day at a time, one shot at a time. Whatever happens at the end of the week, happens at the end of the week.”