U.S. Junior Amateur Wednesday: Five Things to Know July 17, 2018 | Springfield, N.J. By Brendan Pierce, USGA

Trent Phillips is one of 19 players who will play in U.S. Junior Amateur match play for a second straight year. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

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After smooth sailing gave way to a four-hour rain delay on Tuesday, it was a race to the finish for competitors who still had to finish Round 2 of stroke play. They were just able to outrun darkness, and stroke play will give way to the Round of 64 on Wednesday morning. Here are a few things to look out for.

Lower Course, we meet again: Just when you thought it was time to say goodbye to the Lower Course at Baltusrol, it turns out it is sticking around a little longer. The playoff for the final match-play spots will be played on the Lower Course on Wednesday morning, due to Tuesday’s four-hour weather delay. Match play will be conducted exclusively on the Upper Course. 

….And it will play a big role: Eight competitors are vying for the final three spots in the match-play bracket. They will start on Hole No. 4 of the Lower Course at 7 a.m., and the playoff will then go to holes 5 and 18, and repeat until the spots are determined. The three competitors who advance will draw either Kelly Chinn, Ricky Castillo or Karl Vilips in the Round of 64. Bring on July Madness at Baltusrol Golf Club!

A trio of champions: Three USGA champions are competing this week, and all of them advanced to match play. Garrett Barber and Cole Hammer partnered to win the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and could now potentially go up against each other at Baltusrol. Barber finished at 5-over 146 and is the No. 50 match-play seed, while Hammer is the No. 7 seed. There is still a lot of golf to be played, and Barber and Hammer can only square off in the championship match. 

Shuai Ming Wong is the other past USGA champion in the field who has advanced to Wednesday's Round of 64. Wong won the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball championship with partner Frankie Capan, who is not in the field this week. Wong’s even-par total of 141 earned him the No. 16 seed, and he could meet Hammer in the quarterfinal round.

Match play, key differences: When the Round of 64 begins on Wednesday, the most noticeable difference from stroke play will be the opportunity for players to make concessions to their match-play opponent. Here’s a look at how that works:

Familiar faces in match play:
 There are 19 competitors in the Round of 64 who also advanced to match play last year. Who advanced the farthest last year? That would be Rayhan Thomas, who reached the semifinals before falling to eventual champion Noah Goodwin.

Ryan Smith made it to the quarterfinals, and seven others got to the Round of 16: Cole Hammer, Ricky Castillo, Sean Maruyama, Jake Beber-Frankel, Trent Philips, Logan McAlister and Yuki Moriyama.  

Brendan Pierce is an intern in the USGA’s Global Content and Media Distribution Department. Email him at bpierce@usga.org.

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