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Kiwi Hillier Co-Medallist at US Amateur

Hiller in action at Spyglass Hills (Photo: USGA / J.D. Cuban)
It is a case of mission accomplished for the four Australasians who have successfully advanced past the stroke play phase of the prestigious US Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach in California.

New Zealander Daniel Hillier shared medallist honours with American Cole Hammer after posting rounds of 67 and 70 in the qualifying rounds at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill.

Joining Hillier in the 64-strong match play draw are Gold Coast-based Dylan Perry, New South Welshman Blake Windred and Victorian Zach Murray.    

Wellington native Hillier held the opening round lead and recovered from a horror start to his second round at Spyglass Hill with a mid-round surge that included three birdies and an eagle between his eighth and 13th holes.

Hillier, the 19-year-old Royal Wellington Golf Club and Manor Park member is playing in his first US Amateur Championship, gaining access to the event courtesy of his 27th place in the World Amateur Ranking.

For the second day in a row, Hillier holed a shot from the fairway, this time a 9-iron at the par-4 4th (his 13th hole). In yesterday’s opening round at Pebble Beach Golf Links he holed a shot from 100 yards at the par-5 14th.

Hillier is a two-time New Zealand Amateur Champion, a two-time NZ Junior Champion and an Australian Junior Champion and will set his sights on joining countryman Danny Lee as a US Amateur champion in five days' time.

Lee's 2008 US Am victory made him the first and only New Zealander to win the most sought-after title in amateur golf.

Interestingly, on his profile, Hillier nominated Pebble Beach as his favourite golf course despite never having played the layout but it is fair to say it will remain that way now he has experienced such a significant career moment at the venue.

"I mean, coming into this tournament I was going to be happy to make match play and then see how we went from there," said Hillier. "But to come out on top would be, yeah, amazing with Cole obviously, who is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately.

"I feel really good about match play. I've played it quite a bit back home so yeah, it's quite familiar. I'm looking forward to getting into those and seeing if I can get through to the end of it."

Perry recorded a round of 68 at Pebble Beach today to finish 36-hole qualifying at 1 under and in a share of 10th.

Windred continued his good recent form with a round of 70 at Spyglass Hills to move to T24th at 1 over while Murray struggled to a second round 76 to qualify in a share of 46th.

Of the other Australasians in the field, Min Woo Lee, David Micheluzzi, Nathan Barbieri, Shae Wools-Cobb and Charlie Dann did not progress to the match play.


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