LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Around midday Tuesday, Alex Scott was cruising right along, even at one point vaulting into second place of the stroke-play portion at the U.S. Amateur in Pebble Beach, Calif.

He had just birdied his 12th hole of the day, and was feeling good as he stepped to the tee at No. 13.

Then, ugh.

Scott hooked his first tee shot out of bounds, then hit his provisional into the left rough and made himself a triple-bogey seven.

"I think something that helped a lot, at least after the fact, we were behind on time and were told to pick up the pace and we had to catch the next group by 18," Scott, a rising senior at Grand Valley State, told The News following his round.

"That didn't give me any time to think. I just had to grab the yardage book and go to the next hole.

"And we played the last (five) holes really fast. Whether that made a difference, I think it might've helped a little bit."

Scott rallied to shoot 1-under over his last five holes on Spyglass Hill for an even-par 72 that left him tied for 10th in stroke play — and easily earned him a coveted ticket into the Round of 64 match play, which starts Wednesday. Scott will open match play against the top-ranked junior amateur golfer in the world, William Mouw, 17, of Chino Hills, Calif. The match starts at 2:10 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Scott, 21, a graduate of Traverse City West High, opened with a 1-under 70 at Pebble Beach on Monday, with a round that also included an ugly number, a double-bogey at the par-3 seventh hole.

Other than those two bad holes, though, he's been pretty steady, with eight birdies among his 36 holes at two of the nation's most storied courses.

U.S. AMATEUR SCOREBOARD

"I've done really well in not panicking," Scott said. "It's crazy, these are the best amateurs in the world, no question, but I knew I belonged here. Just getting out here, taking my place with these guys. I'm as good as these guys, or better than some of these guys.

"It's cool being out there and seeing the names. (Many of them) play a division up from me (in college), so I don't get to play them, but I'm a golf junkie and I see all their scores, and now I see them here and I'm beating a lot of them.

"It's a special thing. I've been working so hard for this. It's been a huge goal of mine."

A field of 312 golfers began the tournament, including four from Michigan. Scott led the Michigan contingent, while Canton's Donnie Trosper — 4 over through his two rounds — finished in a 24-way tie for the 64th and final spot in the Round of 64. The 24-man playoff commenced Wednesday morning, and Trosper was eliminated on the first sudden-death hole.

White Lake's James Kneen (Oakland; 7 over) and Hamilton's Nick Carlson (Michigan; 13 over), who made the semifinals in the U.S. Amateur in 2016 at Oakland Hills in Bloomfield Township, missed the cut.

Scott's play has been a continuation of a pretty fine stretch, which included a victory in the Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions in Boyne City. He became the first amateur ever to win the event, in which he tied a course record with an 11-under 61 at the Alpine Golf Course in Boyne City. He also placed seventh in the Division II national championships, was runner-up at the Kent County Amateur and was sixth at the Michigan Amateur.

"As of right now, it's the best golf I've played," said Scott, whose dad, Steve, is caddying for him, as he did in the U.S. Amateur qualifier. "Even though the last two days I haven't hit it particularly well, my short game has been good, and the good thing about the long game is I'm missing it in the correct spots — other than those two bad swings.

"I'm looking forward to match play. The hard part's done now."

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE