Taylor Charging To Top Of U.S. Open Leaderboard

June 19, 2009

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. - The rain-soaked Bethpage Black Course resembled conditions more appropriate for the Pacific Northwest on Friday, which might explain why Washington's Nick Taylor felt right at home.

Taylor, a junior from Abbottsford, B.C., ended Friday's action tied for sixth at 2-under par, bouyed by a 5-under par through the first 14 holes of the second round. Play was suspended due to darkness at about 8:24 pm ET.

Taylor jump-started his second round with back-to-back birdies and never looked back from there. He added a birdie at No. 6, before falling back to earth with a bogey on No. 7, his lone score over par during the second round.

Taylor got back on track after the turn, duplicating his back-to-back birdie feat on No. 1 and No. 2 with a pair of birdies on No. 10 and 11. He hit pars on No. 12 and 13 and hurried to No. 14 with darkness closing in on the field.

The horn to halt action sounded with Taylor on No. 14, a 158-yard Par-3 hole. Taylor was left with the option of marking his ball or finishing the hole, and he chose to continue playing. He hit his tee shot into the sand trap to the left of the green, but chipped in from the bunker to end his remarkable day with his sixth birdie of the round.

Taylor, the leader among 16 amatuers in the field, will resume play first thing Saturday morning on No. 15 and wait for the rest of the 156-player field to wrap up their rounds before knowing his fate.

Taylor carded a three-over 73 and finished in a log-jam tie with for 55th place after the first round. Starting on the 10th hole, the junior absorbed a rough start, which included two bogeys and a double on his first six holes. Taylor would respond with a pair of birdies on No. 18 and No. 2 before bogeying No. 6.

Because rain washed out Thursday's opening round, play began with a shotgun start on Friday.

This is Taylor's second crack at one of golf's most prestigious tournament as an amateur. Taylor shot a 10-over 152 at the U.S. Open last year at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, and missed the cut by three strokes.

Taylor qualified for this year's tournament after carding a five-under 66 during a 36-hole sectional qualifier at the Tumble Creek course in Roslyn, Wash.

He came into the tournament on the heels of one of the best golf campaigns in Washington history. Taylor won four tournaments and took home a slew of awards: PING All-American, Pac-10 Player of the Year and a semifinalist's nod for the Hogan Award.

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