Paul Scaletta stood staring at the scoreboard. Thinking. Computing. Determined to find a mathematical formula that could put his standing in a better light.
It couldn't be done. Scaletta's 6-over par backside on the West Course in Tuesday's round doomed his bid to advance to match play in the U.S. Open at Oak Hill.
Scaletta, a 23-year-old graduate of LaSalle High School, was in excellent position to move on as he made the turn. He rolled in a 25-footer to save par on No. 7. He nailed a 20-foot downhiller for birdie on No. 9.
He couldn't wait to get to the 10th tee. But once there, wait is what he was forced to do. A spectator walking up the fairway forced Scaletta to delay his tee shot. Once the course was clear, he hooked his drive into the rough and made bogey.
"I should have just shot (the tee shot) over his head," Scaletta said. "After the birdie at 9 I was ready to go."
Scaletta three-putted the 11th hole for double bogey and suddenly the pressure was immense.
"I guess I started to think about it (the cut)," he said.
His 6-over 75 put his 36-hole total at 148. The cut at the end of play Tuesday was 147 but is likely to drop to 146.
Scaletta has used up his golf eligibility at Virginia Commonwealth but still has two semesters left as he pursues a degree in business administration. However, he moved to Richmond, Va., three years ago hoping to pave a career into pro golf. That remains his goal.
Tim Hume, Western New York's top-ranked amateur, couldn't latch onto his 'A' game either day, following a first-round 75 on the East Course with a 77 on the West Tuesday.
For the most part, Hume drove the ball more accurately than on Monday, when he was repeatedly in the trees. But a stray tee shot on his ninth hole of the day, No. 18, led to a double bogey that killed his match-play hopes.
"I had one bad drive -- 18. It went into the trees, had to pitch it out, missed the green, bad chip, two-putted. Pretty easy chip shot, I just hit a bad one and it threw me out of synch," Hume said.
Hume came into his second straight U.S. Amateur with his game in order. He captured his third straight Buffalo District championship in July, and recently won the club championship at Cherry Hill.
"I'm a little frustrated," Hume said. "My game wasn't here. I'm grinding and grinding; grinded yesterday, all over behind the tree and whatnot. I tried to find it and just couldn't get it today. Tough pins today. And when you're trying to make ground with the pins tucked, it's tough."
Frank Broderick, the club champion at East Aurora Country Club, had just hit his tee shot on the 18th hole when the heavy rains came. Play resumed long enough for Broderick to finish with a par good for a 74 on the West and a 151 total.
Broderick, 47, made the Amateur field on the 36th and final hole of the local qualifier at Crag Burn.
"What I learned is I'm not as good as the upper echelon player but most of these guys I can compete with," Broderick said.
Steve Scott, the University of Florida player who extended Tiger Woods for the full 36 holes in the 1996 U.S. Amateur, was among those who failed to make the cut. Scott shot 78 on the East Course Tuesday; he opened with a 72 on the West.
Pittsford's John Kircher, who topped the local qualifying held at Crag Burn, shot 79-74-153.
Matt Kuchar will be fighting a strong trend as he embarks on match play in defense of his U.S. Amateur crown. History suggests that the mighty usually fall in top national events held at Oak Hill. Cary Middlecoff edged Ben Hogan to win the 1956 U.S. Open here. Jack Nicklaus was runner-up to Lee Trevino in the '68 Open. When Miller Barber captured the '84 Senior Open, finishing second was Arnold Palmer. And then there's the matter of the '95 Ryder Cup, when the European side came from far behind on the final day to beat the U.S., 14 1/2 -13 1/2 .
The par-3 sixth hole on the East Course is still the place to be dealt an ace, especially when the pin is cut 5 feet from the front and 4 feet from the right edge. Covering 167 yards, it yielded four holes-in-one during the second round of the 1989 U.S. Open. Herb Stevens of North Kingston, R.I., a former Tour caddy, aced it Tuesday with the pin in the same spot it was located during the Open's second round.