The U.S. Amateur Championship – 2016 Match Play Stage

17th – 21st August 2016

U.S. Amateur – Match Play Championship Stage

I believe 2016 will prove to be an historic U.S. Amateur Championship for Great Britain & Ireland (GB&I). I say this because I can’t recall six of our players progressing to the match play stage before and certainly not one from each of the four home nations.

Unfortunately one of our qualifiers couldn’t go on to win it ! David Boote (WAL) was the most successful reaching the quarter-finals of the match play stage.

Here is the story, at least from from a GB&I perspective, of the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship played at Oakland Hills CC, near Detroit.

Final – Sunday 21st August 2016

Curtis Luck (AUS) won the 2016 U.S. Amateur champion, beating Brad Dalke (USA) 6&4 in the 36-hole Championship match at Oakland Hills CC, in Detroit.

img_6613Curtis Luck (Photo: USGA)

Curtis Luck (SPWAR 37 / WAGR 7) went into the final as the favourite based on his superior world rankings; Brad Dalke (SPWAR 180 / WAGR 265) sitting well below him.

In many respects both players have already won though; by reaching the Final both Curtis and Brad guaranteed themselves invitations to the 2017 Masters and U.S. Open. By winning Curtis also picked up an invitation to The Open. Of course all of these exemptions are subject to them remaining amateur players.

Match 63    Curtis Luck 28 (AUS) Won 6&4 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)

To review all of the U.S. Amateur Championship results click this link – 2016 U.S. Amateur Results

Semi-Finals – Saturday 20th August 2016

Match 61   Nick Carlson 41 (USA) LOST 21st Hole v. Curtis Luck 28 (AUS)

Local player Nick Carlson made a good start to this semi-final taking a 2 Up lead after just 3 holes. Australian Curtis Luck hung around and eventually got the match back to 1 Down with 1 hole to play. Tragically for Carlson he could only manage a double bogey 6 letting Luck square the match on 18 with a bogey 5. Both players parred the 1st and 2nd holes before Luck birdied the par 5 3rd to take the lead for the first time all day and to make it through to the Final.

Match 62  Jonah Texeira 31 (USA) LOST 3&2 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)

In the second semi-final Californian Jonah Texeira led 2 Up at the the turn. However, he proceeded to bogey 10 and 11 allowing Brad Dalke to draw level. Two birdies on 13 and 15 and a badly timed bogey on 14 by Texeira allowed Dalke, 19 yesterday, to pull away, the man from Oklahoma securing a 3&2 victory on the 16th green.

Quarter Finals – Friday 19th August 2016

Match 60  David Boote 62 (WAL) LOST 3&2 v. Brad Dalke 38 (USA)

Brad Dalke is well known for two things – ‘signing’ for Oklahoma College when he was 12 and beating Rory McIlroy in an arm wrestling match at the 2015 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. He also has some game which he demonstrated by starting this quarter final with five birdies in his first 6 holes. It was to David Boote‘s credit that despite this onslaught he managed to turn just 2 Down after three birdies of his own. Boote continued to play well on the back nine but further birdies from Dalke on 11 and 16 were good enough to secure a 3&2 win for the American. David Boote played his best round of the week thing to Dalke. It was just one of those match play days for the Welshman (who lives in Surrey, England 😉) where he came up against an unstoppable Dalke A-game.

Interestingly Dylan Meyer, who enjoyed such a good day yesterday, ran out of steam on the back nine of his quarter final losing 3&1 to Nick Carlson after three bogeys and one double bogey.

img_6497

Round of 16 – Thursday 18th August 2016

Match 49  Dylan Meyer 33 (USA) WON 19th hole v. Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG)
Match 55   David Boote 62 (WAL) WON 2&1 v. Collin Morikawa 14 (USA)

There are no easy matches at this stage of the U.S. Amateur and the two facing our remaining GB&I representatives were certainly no exception to this rule.

Meyer’s amazing short game and putting skills were again on display as he and Sam Horsfield played out a quality match where par golf was largely the order of the day. With no player able to take command of the match it was always likely to come down to a small error. Meyer holed a 15 footer on 18 to take the match back down the 1st and was quickly rewarded when Horsfield missed a short 3 footer for par gifting the Indiana-man the win. It was some day for Western Amateur champion Meyer who knocked out medalist Alex Smalley in the morning before seeing off Sam, the SPWAR No. 1 ranked player in the world, in the afternoon.

Collin Morikawa, a California college golfer, and former Stanford-man David Boote will surely have been well known to each other before their Rd of 16 match teed-off.  Birdies on the first two holes by Boote would have sent a clear message to Morikawa and whilst the Californian got the match back to even on the 4th poor bogies 0n 5, 7 and 8 handed back the initiative to Boote. With a 3 Up lead to defend on the back nine Boote had the mental fortitude and golfing ability to par his way into a 2&1 victory which he secured on the 17th. This was a very impressive win for the Welshman as Morikawa has been in excellent recent form, winning the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur before finishing second at the Air Capital Classic on the professional Web.com Tour.

Round of 32 – Thursday 18th August 2016

Three GB&I players progressed to the Round of 32.

Match 34   Doc Redman 49 (USA) LOST 5&4 v. Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG)
Match 36   Scott Gregory 9 (ENG) LOST 19th Hole v. Nick Carlson 41 (USA)
Match 45   David Boote 62 (WAL) WON 3&1 v. Ben Schlottman 35 (USA)

Sam Horsfield celebrated moving to the top of the SPWAR earlier this week by playing his very best golf to beat Doc Redman this morning. He shot 29 on the front nine before finishing the match 7-under on the 14th. Let’s hope he hasn’t used up all his putts this afternoon as he now has to face his recent nemesis, Dylan Meyer. Meyer beat Horsfield two weeks ago in the final of the Western Amateur Championship.

Scott Gregory played really well – he was 3-under for the 19 holes with just one bogey – but came up against an in form Nick Carlson. Despite fighting back from 3-down with 8 holes to play to take the match into extra time the excitement was short-lived. A 10-foot birdie putt from the local Michigan man saw him progress.

In probably the least spectacular match of the three involving GB&I players David Boote wore down Ben Schlottman to progress to the last 16. Boote had three birdies and two bogies but pulled away as Schlottman appeared to lose his game a little on the back-9.

Round of 64 – Wednesday 17th August 2016

Here are the Round of 64 Match Play results involving GB&I players with their qualifying positions included: –

Match 2     Connor Syme 32 (SCO) LOST 2 Up v. Dylan Meyer 33 (USA)
Match 4     Sam Horsfield 17 (ENG) WON 3&1 v. Hugo Bernard 48 (CAN)
Match 7     Scott Gregory 9 (ENG) WON 7&5 v. Raymond Knoll 56 (USA)
Match 17   Dawson Armstrong 2 (USA) WON 1 Up v. Bradley Moore 63 (ENG)
Match 24   Bryson Nimmer 23 (U SA) WON 1 Up v. Jack Hume 42 (IRE)
Match 25   Gavin Hall 3 (USA) LOST 3&2 v. David Boote 62 (WAL)

Connor Syme and Sam Horsfield both came up against recent amateur championship winners – Dylan Meyer won the Western Amateur whilst Hugo Bernard picked up the Canadian Amateur title just last weekend. In tight matches Syme was beaten 2Up, losing the last two holes to par, whilst Horsfield, who shot -4 for the 17 holes he completed, managed to ease out the competitive Bernard. Sam Horsfield has Terry Mundy, a family friend and the long-time caddie of Ian Poulter, on his bag at Oakland Hills CC this week.

Scott Gregory had a much easier task in his match against Raymond Knoll who simply never got going today. Knoll bogeyed 7 of the 13 holes they completed making life far too easy for the confident Amateur champion.

Afternoon rain and thunderstorms in the Detroit area led to a two hour suspension in play between 3.40pm – 5.40pm local time.

Unfortunately the tough finish on Oakland Hills South Course proved too much for both Bradley Moore and Jack Hume. Moore did very well to fight back to All Square against the highly rated No. 2 qualifier Dawson Armstrong having been 2 Down with 6 holes to play. However, having birdied the 13th and 16th, he bogied the last two holes to let Armstrong progress. Hume was 1 Up with 3 to play before he bogeyed 16 and 17 to give his opponent, Bryson Nimmer a 1 Up lead heading up the 18th. With the hole halved in par Nimmer moved on from another close match.

David Boote appeared to be in control of his match from the start, his consistent play enabling him to build up a 4 Up lead after 11 holes. He finally saw off Gavin Hall, the 3rd seed, 3&2 on the 16th green.

It is clear from today’s first round matches that almost anything can happen on the last 5 holes of Oakland Hill’s South Course.

For my preview of the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship and information on the Stroke Play Stage please click here – U.S. Amateur Championship Preview & Stroke Play Stage

ME.

Copyright © 2016, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

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