Neil Raymond, of England, and Brady Watt, of Australia, the top seeds in the match-play bracket, each won twice on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of match play in the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship at the 7,310-yard, par-70 The Country Club.
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Raymond, 27, the oldest remaining player in the field, rallied in the closing holes to defeat Nathan Holman, 22, of Australia, 1 up. He made a 7-foot par putt on No. 15 to stay 1 down. Raymond then earned conceded birdies on the par-3 16th and par-4 17th when his opponent ran into trouble. Holman hit his tee shot into the front bunker on No. 16 and sent his approach shot over the green on the following hole. Raymond wrapped up the third-round win with a 7-foot par putt on No. 18.
"Anyone can win," said Raymond, one of eight international players who advanced to the Round of 16. "There are 64 guys going one-on-one for a few days of match play. It doesn’t matter what you shoot. A good friend of mine shot four under in the morning match and lost. That is the strange thing about match play. You just play your opponent."
Raymond, who was co-medalist in stroke play with a pair of 67s and is playing in his first USGA championship, earlier defeated Zachary Olsen, 19, of Cordova, Tenn., in the second round, 2 and 1. He won four of five holes in the middle of the morning round with three pars and one birdie to seize control.
The U.S. Amateur Championship continues with the quarterfinal round on Friday, starting at 11 a.m. EDT. The semifinals will be contested on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. The championship is scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. EDT.
The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Watt, who fired rounds of 68 and 66 in stroke play to share medalist honors, won holes 8 and 9 with a birdie and a par, respectively, in his third-round match with Charlie Hughes, of Canada, to take a 2-up lead. But Hughes, 21, who plays at the University of Washington, made a birdie on the par-4 15th when he holed out from the back greenside bunker to slice the deficit in half.
After the players halved No. 16, Hughes hooked his tee shot into the woods on the 354-yard, par-4 17th and was never able to fully recover. Meanwhile, Watt, 23, found the fairway and green en route to a conceded birdie for a 2-and-1 victory. Earlier in the day, he defeated Seth Reeves, 22, of Duluth, Ga., 3 and 2, in the second round.
"My aim off the tee has improved," said Watt, the No. 2 seed, who arrived in the United States for the first time on June 28. "I have a lot of confidence off the tee. It gives me a lot of opportunity to get myself in the hole. [It] helps me get a lot of birdies. If you keep yourself in the fairway and keep yourself in the hole, most of the time you can get a win out there."
Oliver Goss, of Australia, and Matthew Fitzpatrick, of England, each claimed Round of 16 wins as the third and fifth seeds, respectively. Goss, 19, who was a 2012 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist, upended Xander Schauffele, 19, of San Diego, 3 and 1. Fitzpatrick, 18, who was the low amateur at this year’s British Open Championship, registered a 4-and-3 victory over Gavin Hall, 18, of Pittsford, N.Y.
"Absolutely amazing," said Fitzpatrick about his play over the last month. "The Open week was the best week of my life, by a mile. Ever since I qualified it started my golf season. I wasn’t playing in any events. That is a positive for me."
Scottie Scheffler, 17, erased deficits on the inward nine in both of his matches to advance to the quarterfinals. Scheffler, the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, won the last three holes to edge Matthias Schwab, 18, of Austria, 1 up. Schwab three-putted No. 16, before Scheffler birdied the following hole by hitting a wedge to 5 feet. The Dallas native hit a 3-wood off the tee on the par-4 18th to keep it in play, while Schwab found the left rough, which led to a bogey.
"I just never gave up hope," said Scheffler, who is trying to become the first reigning U.S. Junior champion to advance to the U.S. Amateur semifinals since 1986. "When I was younger, I used to give up a little bit."
Scheffler defeated 2012 U.S. Amateur semifinalist Brandon Hagy, 22, of Westlake Village, Calif., in 20 holes in the second round. He was 2 down to Hagy on the inward nine, but squared the match with a birdie on No. 17. Scheffler, who also went extra holes to win his first-round match and survived a 17-for-15 playoff to make the match-play bracket, sank a 4-foot par putt on the 197-yard, par-3 second to secure the win.
Adam Ball, who is No. 776 in the World Golf Amateur Ranking, and Brandon Matthews, who plays for Temple University in Philadelphia, also advanced to the quarterfinals. Ball, 19, of Richmond, Va., dispatched Chelso Barrett, 18, of Surry, N.H., 6 and 5. Matthews, 19, of Dupont, Pa., is making his first USGA championship a memorable one. He defeated Charlie Danielson, 19, of Osceola, Wis., 3 and 2.
Corey Conners, the runner-up at last week’s Canadian Amateur Championship, defeated Patrick Rodgers, a two-time USA Walker Cup Team selection, 5 and 3, to reach the quarterfinals. Conners, 21, won holes 8, 9 and 11 with two birdies and a par to pull away.
"It sounds pretty great, definitely an elite group," said Conners, the lone Canadian to reach the quarterfinal round. "I feel really proud to make it this far, but I still have some work to do."
Brian DePasquale is a manager of championship communications at the USGA. Email him a firstname.lastname@example.org.
BROOKLINE, Mass. – Results from Thursday’s second and third rounds of match play at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship, played at 7,310-yard, par-70 The Country Club.
Round of 32
Neil Raymond, England (134) def. Zachary Olsen, Cordova, Tenn. (142), 2 and 1
Nathan Holman, Australia (140) def. Blair Hamilton, Canada (143), 4 and 3
Corey Conners, Canada (143) def. Bryson Dechambeau, Clovis, Calif. (138), 2 and 1
Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind. (144) def. Greg Eason, England (141), 3 and 2
Chelso Barrett, Surry, N.H. (142) def. Justin Shin, Canada (137), 4 and 3
Adam Ball, Richmond, Va. (141) def. Max Orrin, England (139), 2 and 1
Matt Fitzpatrick, England (137) def. Blake Morris, Waterbury, Conn. (142), 4 and 3
Gavin Hall, Pittsford, N.Y. (144) def. Bobby Wyatt, Mobile, Ala. (143), 4 and 2
Brady Watt, Australia (134) def. Seth Reeves, Duluth, Ga. (142), 3 and 2
Charlie Hughes, Canada (139) def. Sebastian Cappelen, Denmark (140), 4 and 3
Matthias Schwab, Austria (141) def. Zac Blair, Ogden, Utah (144), 2 and 1
Scottie Scheffler, Dallas, Texas (144) def. Brandon Hagy, Westlake Village, Calif. (143), 20 holes
Oliver Goss, Australia (137) def. Carr Vernon, Poplar Bluff, Mo. (142), 2 up
Xander Schauffele, San Diego, Calif. (140) def. Scott Wolfes, St. Simons Island, Ga. (139), 2 and 1
Charlie Danielson, Osceola, Wis. (143) def. Chase Koepka, Lake Worth, Fla. (144), 3 and 1
Brandon Matthews, Dupont, Pa. (141) def. Gavin Green, Malaysia (144), 4 and 3
Round of 16
Neil Raymond, England (134) def. Nathan Holman, Australia (140), 1 up
Corey Conners, Canada (143) def. Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind. (144), 5 and 3
Adam Ball, Richmond, Va. (141) def. Chelso Barrett, Surry, N.H. (142), 6 and 5
Matt Fitzpatrick, England (137) def. Gavin Hall, Pittsford, N.Y. (144), 4 and 3
Brady Watt, Australia (134) def. Charlie Hughes, Canada (139), 2 and 1
Scottie Scheffler, Dallas, Texas (144) def. Matthias Schwab, Austria (141), 1 up
Oliver Goss, Australia (137) def. Xander Schauffele, San Diego, Calif. (140), 3 and 1
Brandon Matthews, Dupont, Pa. (141) def. Charlie Danielson, Osceola, Wis. (143), 3 and 2
BROOKLINE, Mass. – Pairings for Friday’s quarterfinal round of match play at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship, played at 7,310-yard, par-70 The Country Club. (All times EDT)
11 a.m. - Neil Raymond, England (134) vs. Corey Conners, Canada (143)
11:20 a.m. - Adam Ball, Richmond, Va. (141) vs. Matt Fitzpatrick, England (137)