The US Amateur Championship trophy – USGA – click to expand
17-year old US based Perth golfer, Karl Vilips, and Brisbane’s, Jack Trent, are the only Australian survivors following the completion of the opening round of match-play at the US Amateur Championship in Pinehurst in North Carolina.
They, along with Sydney’s Blake Windred, were the only Australians to make it into the 64 players to graduate from the 36 hole stroke-play stage of the event after Sydney’s, Jordan Garner, missed out in a 27 man playoff for just three spots in the final field, earlier in the day.
Windred, who finished 12th in the qualifying, was defeated by American John Pak, squandering an early 3 up lead to eventually lose 3&1.
Trent, who is currently attending the University of Nevada, recovered from an early setback when losing the 2nd hole but squared the match at the next and was never behind from that point on and eventually won 4&3.
The remarkably talented and credentialed Vilips was out in the last match of the day and was 2 up through two holes before his American opponent, Jansen Smith, staged a comeback to square the match at the 10th and from that point there was never more than one hole in it until Vilips parred the 16th to go 2 up.
When both parred the 17th the match was over, 2&1 in Vilips’ favour.
In tomorrow’s Round of 32 Trent will face Alex Fitzpatrick of England, brother of European Tour star Matthew and a sophomore at Wake Forest University, while Vilips takes on Steven Fisk of Georgia, a player good enough to have finished runner-up behind Matthew Wolff at the NCAA Championship earlier this year.
New Zealander Daniel Hillier was another to lose out in the playoff for a place in the final 64, eliminated when he could only par the third hole of extra time.
Australia’s highest-ranked golfer David Micheluzzi was forced to return to the course this morning to complete his round but missed out on the playoff by two shots.
The biggest surprise of the opening round of knockout matches was the elimination of the man who led the qualifying, Brandon Wu, who was beaten by the 64th qualifier, Austin Squires, who only just crept into the field following success in the morning playoff for final places.
Squires birdied the last hole to win 2 up after never being behind throughout the match.
4-hour playoff this morning to get into match play, 18-hole match to oust the medalist. Austin Squires made the most of his day at Pinehurst and earned the @Lexus Top Performance of the Day. #USAmateur pic.twitter.com/Ucq4WAfywB
— USGA (@USGA) 15 August 2019