Yes, they are playing the US Amateur at the Country Club in Brookline, and the winner will walk off with the Havemeyer trophy, but it has been a tough tournament for high profile American amateurs. Earlier this summer the USGA named the first five members of the Walker Cup team; with Patrick Rodgers' loss Friday afternoon in the round of 16, they were all gone by the weekend. After breezing through his round this morning, the vagaries of match-play asserted themselves and he was thoroughly beaten by Casey Connors (Canadian by way of the Canadian national team, and a rising senior at Kent St). Connors who pointed to his putting as an area of improvement this week, also had several short range birdie putts, including knocking it to a foot on 15 to close out the match.
In a match-up of teen phenoms and incoming college freshman, Matt Fitzpatrick, who will be at Northwestern in the fall, easily defeated Gavin Hall, a Texas recruit. Fitzpatrick has been very impressive all week, while after playing solid golf against Bobby Wyatt this morning, Hall made a few errors through scratchy ball-striking early in the match and was unable to recover.
Fitzpatrick though, will not be the youngest player in the quarter-finals, that honor belongs to Scottie Scheffler. The rising high school senior continues to show that he loves a comeback, as he came from behind for the third straight match here at the Amateur. It turns out though that it was actually the fourth straight come from behind victory for Scheffler, as he also came back in winning the US Junior a few weeks ago. After squaring the match on 13, he was unable to save par from the right rough on the par 4 14th, and then lost 15 when Matt Schwab ran in a long putt for birdie. From there though Scheffler won his final three holes, including a birdie on 17, and a par at the tough par 4 finishing hole. The par on 18 came from a strategy change to go with 3wood off the tee, instead of driver. Given his success perhaps it is unsurprising that match-play is his favorite form of golf, as “you can blow it out of bounds on one hole” and then just move onto the next one.
Scheffler is the highest profile American through to the final, but not the only one: Adam Ball, who will be playing at VCU, is a four time Virginia State Junior Golf Champion, and in 2011 the number two junior in the country, so it only seems as if he came out of no where. And Brandon Mathews, a Temple sophmore, who you may remember was an alternate at the US Open, complete the American quarter-final threesome.
The Australian contingent continued their strong showing, with both Oliver Goss and Brady Watt making it through to the final, part of a leader board that continues to feature a heavy international presence. Five of the eight quarter-finalists are international player: Neil Raymond, Conners, Fitzpatrick, Watt, and Goss.
With continued good weather predicted for Friday and the weekend, and great crowds already. It should be a fun three days of action.