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Home AUSTRALIAN COLETTA HOLDS LEAD FOR MEDALIST HONORS AT 2015 U.S. AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP

Brett Coletta, 19, of Australia, posted a 36-hole total of 7-under-par 133 to hold the lead on Tuesday in the weather-delayed stroke-play qualifying of the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club.

Coletta’s 4-under-par 66 on the North Course placed him one stroke ahead of David Oraee, of Greeley, Colo., who shot 67 on the South Course for a 134 total.

Among those who did not complete play but are within striking distance to pass or tie Coletta for the stroke-play medal are Jake Knapp, of Costa Mesa, Calif., and Japan’s Kenta Kinoshi (both at 4 under through 27 holes).

Rain delayed the start of the second round of stroke play by 90 minutes on Tuesday morning and 54 players did not complete 36 holes. Play was halted because of darkness at 7:13 p.m., and the second round of stroke play will resume at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Lee McCoy, 21, of Athens, Ga., a 2015 United States Walker Cup Team member, shot 70 on the North Course to place him at 4-under 136.

“There were two goals today,” said McCoy, who played in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and was co-medalist at the 2014 U.S. Amateur. “It would have meant a lot to me to medal, but as long as I have a tee time tomorrow, I'm a happy guy. There were 64 winners today, and I'm just happy to be one of them. Nobody has an advantage over anybody going into tomorrow. I mean, last year I was the No. 1 seed and drew the 64 seed, Nathan Smith. You never know what you're going to get. It's a box of chocolates. As long as I'm here tomorrow, I'm a happy guy.”

Coletta, who placed fifth in the recent Porter Cup and is playing in his first USGA championship, made just one bogey in 36 holes.

“At home, everyone says this is the tournament to get into,” he said. “This is the tournament to win. This is the biggest experience you're going to get, and it's hyped up to be what it is. So I've come here, and all the stands are up, all you guys out here, the TV cameras will be out tomorrow. This is a great experience for me, coming to play this event, and to play well is even better.”

A member of the Australian national squad, Coletta tallied five birdies against one bogey on the course that hosted the 1928 and 2003 U.S. Opens.

“I'm hitting my driver unbelievable,” said Coletta, who won the 2014 Victorian Junior Masters. “So having that extra distance and hitting it straight, having those short irons in really helps. I thought I played really well and really solid.”

The final match-play draw of 64 players will not be determined until Wednesday, but Coletta is in strong position to earn the stroke-play medal and the No. 1 seed.

“That's just a bonus,” said Coletta, who placed fifth in the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics. “My goal this week was to get into match play, so I've already achieved my first goal.”

Matt NeSmith, a senior at the University of South Carolina who won The Players Amateur earlier this year and was the first-round leader with a 65, shot 73 on Tuesday for a 138 total.

Defending champion Gunn Yang of the Republic of Korea shot 69 for a total of 142.

The 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play (18 holes on each of Olympia Fields’ North and South Courses), followed by six rounds of match play (all on the North Course), with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday.

George Cunningham, of Tucson, Ariz., scored a hole-in-one on the 138-yard, par-3 14th hole of the South Course with a pitching wedge for the first ace in the Amateur since 2013. He shot 66 for a 137 total.