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IMG Academy alum, Cheng-Tsung Pan, takes mid-day lead at U.S. Amateur

IMG Academy alum, Cheng-Tsung Pan takes mid-day lead at U.S. Amateur

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Cheng-Tsung Pan, a sophomore at Washington, grabbed the clubhouse lead for qualifying medalist honors at the U.S. Amateur when he shot a 5-under 65 Tuesday morning at the par-70, 7,378-yard CommonGround Golf Club.

With the morning wave complete, Pan, 20, stands at 7-under 134 after his opening 2-under 69 at Cherry Hills Country Club. That left him tied at 7 under with first round leader Bobby Wyatt, who was in the afternoon session at CommonGround.

Pan, originally from Chinese Taipei, recorded eight birdies in his second round against a trio of bogeys.

“I’m hitting the ball great, driving well,” said Pan, who was qualifying medalist at the Western Amateur in 2009 and 2010. “I’m hitting my irons well and executing my shots well. I had a lot of birdie chances that I could really feel the speed right. I was trying to focus on every shot, trying to make as many birdies as I can.”

Pan was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and a second team All-America as a freshman last season, while also a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award. This summer he tied for seventh at the Sahalee Players Championship and advanced to the Sweet 16 at the Western Amateur, losing on the 20th hole in his first-round match against Abraham Ancer.

“I feel good about these two rounds," said Pan, 20, a quarterfinalist at the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur at age 15. “It give me confidence going into match play. My goal is to win the tournament. Highest seeds always seem to have an advantage.”

Among other morning finishers, Zac Blair, 21, a senior at BYU, followed his 65 at CommonGround with an even-par 71 at Cherry Hills and trails Pan by two shots.

Jordan Spieth, a two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion and the low amateur at this year’s U.S. Open, posted a 2 under at Cherry Hills and stands at 3-under 138.

The 2011 U.S. Walker Cup team member was joined at 138 by Oliver Goss, 18, of Australia, who notched a 4-under 66 at CommonGround Tuesday.

Doug Hanzel, the 55-year-old doctor from Savannah, Ga., shot a 3-under 68 at Cherry Hills and appears in excellent shape to advance into match play at even-par 141. He gained his spot in the starting field of this year’s U.S. Am when he was low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open.

Following Tuesday’s stroke play, the starting field of 312 will be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play, which begins Wednesday and continues through Sunday, when two players will compete in the 36 hole championship final.

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