Golf StoriesAt Bear’s Best, Kim, Rivera, Moriyama Earn Spots in 2021 U.S. Amateur

July 9, 2021by Brian Hurlburt0

John Kim, Jackson Rivera and Yuki Moriyama advanced to the 2021 U.S. Amateur with top-three finishes during sectional qualifying at Bear’s Best on July 6-7, 2021. George Leigh and Hazen Newman earned alternate spots. The 2021 U.S. Amateur is scheduled to be played at Oakmont Country Club in Verona, PA, on Aug. 9-15. –by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.

Kim and Rivera tied for medalist honors, both posting rounds of 66-64—130.

Kim finished strong, putting up birdies on the final two holes Wednesday–and eight total on the final day with no bogeys–that helped him tie for medalist honors.

“It was a great two days,” said Kim, who is a student at College of the Desert in Palmdale, CA. “I just tried to focus and do my best on every single shot. If I had a bad shot, I just tried to calm down and focus on the next shot.”

Kim said the chance to play in the national spotlight at the U.S. Amateur shows hard work pays off.

“After this tournament I have more confidence in myself,” he said of his outlook on his first national event. “I just need to work on my putting. I need to make more putts to lower my scores and be competitive.”

Rivera, who is from San Diego and will be a freshman at USC this fall, was perfect over the two days as he put 14 birdies on the scorecard–including eight on the second day–with no bogeys.

Despite the solid two days, he knows he still has work to do taking it to the next level.

“I’m definitely happy with the way it turned out,” he said of his two-day effort. “I hit the ball very well but if I want to compete against some of the best players in the world, I’m going to have to play even better.”

He added putting will be a key.

“You can always get better,” he said. “It’s ‘where did I not gain enough and where did I lose strokes to the rest of the field?’ And for me it’s putting. I’m just not putting it in the hole enough and that’s what I need the most work on.”

For Moriyama it was impressive final-nine play each day that helped him move on.

The first day he played the final nine holes seven-under-par with five birdies and an eagle. He was almost as hot in Day 2 with an eagle and four birdies. He birdied the final three holes to earn the last spot by one shot.

While there was no playoff for the medalist honors, there was a playoff for the first and second alternates.

Hazen Newman, a Southern Nevada product who plays for Oklahoma State, and George Leigh tied with identical two-day totals of 66-67—133 before Leigh won on the second hole of the playoff to earn first qualifier status.

2021 Qualifiers

John Kim, 66-64—130

Jackson Rivera, 66-64—130

Yuki Moriyama, 63-69—132

2021 Alternates

First-George Leigh, 66-67—133

Second-Hazen Newman, 66-67—133

Brian Hurlburt

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