WEST ORANGE, N.J. — Sam Randolph, the runner-up in this event last year, rolled in long birdie putts on the final three holes en route to a five-under-par 65 and the lead after the first of two rounds of medal play in the 85th U.S. Amateur championship Tuesday.
Randolph, one of the stars of the United States' Walker Cup victory over Great Britain and Ireland last week, had an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys.
That put the USC golfer one shot ahead British Walker Cup member Peter Baker and Kevin Whipple of Duncan, Okla.
Defending champion Scott Verplank was five shots off the pace, tied with two other former U.S. Amateur champions--Jay Sigel and Vinny Giles--and several other players at 70.
Randolph of Santa Barbara turned in his round playing the first and third nines at the rolling Montclair Golf Club. The round was five shots better than any score turned in by a golfer playing those holes.
Baker, Whipple and Verplank all played the second and fourth nines. Those holes will be used when the field of 282 golfers is reduced to 64 for match play, starting Thursday.
Verplank defeated Randolph 4-and-3 in the 36-hole final.