Teammates now combatants

Joseph Bramlett and Daniel Lim have spent much of the past year together, sharing triumphs as members of the Stanford men’s golf team.

But after helping the Cardinal to the NCAA championship this summer, the two friends are hoping this week’s U.S. Amateur at the Olympic Club will provide them with a high-stakes opportunity to compete head-to-head.

“We’ve been practicing together and getting ready for this for a while and after each day our last words were ‘See you in the final,’” Lim said. “And that’s exactly what we both want.”

Bramlett and Lim are being joined at the prestigious event by a third Cardinal, as incoming freshman Sihwan Kim also qualified. The tournament began Monday and continues today with the final round of stroke play at the club’s Lake and Ocean courses, with the top 64 qualifiers advancing to match-play competition that concludes with a 36-hole final Sunday. Both Kim and Lim shot 73s Monday to remain in contention to advance, while Bramlett was unable to complete his first round due to a four-hour morning fog delay.

All three Cardinal players came into the tournament with a lot of confidence, as Bramlett and Lim played key roles in helping Stanford earn the eighth championship in school history in June and Kim has already seen great personal success at the Olympic Club. Bramlett, a sophomore who played at St. Francis High School of Mountain View, tied for 39th at the NCAAs and Lim (a junior from Bellarmine in San Jose) tied for 15th as Stanford bested Georgia by 12 strokes. Meanwhile, back in 2004, Kim won the U.S. Junior Amateur at the Olympic Club, making par on the 18th hole to best David Chung of Fayetteville, N.C.

But both Kim, who graduated from Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, and Bramlett, an Olympic Club member, said both courses are even more challenging than they had been in the past.

“It’s completely different — the greens are a lot faster, the rough is a lot longer and they’ve lengthened a few of the holes,” Bramlett said last week. “It’s fun, but it’s not easy. It’s a course that’s going to make you work all day.”

Lim said he leaned on Bramlett’s course knowledge in his preparation for the tournament and both players proudly displayed Stanford apparel during their rounds Monday. Kim said he was looking forward to being a part of the Cardinal camaraderie.

“I think competing on the same team with those guys is going to be pretty cool,” Kim said. “I know they won it all last year and I’m hoping we can bring it back again.”

Lim, for one, said Stanford players had already started talking about the potential for excellence next year.

“Sihwan’s a great guy and a great player,” Lim said. “And with him coming in, Joe, [Stanford teammate] Rob Grube and I have said that we could be even better than we were last year.”

Foggy start is no problem for some players

A classic San Francisco morning fog Monday may have caused a four-hour delay, but several players still managed to put together solid first rounds at the U.S. Amateur at the Olympic Club.

Kyle Dickey, Kyle Ellis, Andy Mickelson and Nathan Tyler all fired 2-under-par 68s on the Ocean Course to enter the clubhouse tied for the 18-hole lead. Colt Knost, David Merkow and Kevin Schultz shot 1-under 69s to card the lowest scores on the more-challenging LakeCourse. The players will switch courses today for their second round and the top 64 advance to match play on the Lake Course beginning Wednesday.

Jonathan Hodge actually had the lowest recorded score Monday, as he was 4-under through nine holes on the Ocean Course. His round was postponed due to darkness on the back nine. Of the 312 players in the field, 155 were unable to complete their first round. Those players will resume their rounds this morning at 7:30 a.m., while the second round will commence at 9 a.m.

melliser@examiner.com


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