U.S. AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Old Mac’s 17th Hole A Charm for Semifinal Duo Medley, Wood May 28, 2019 | Bandon, Ore. By Tom Mackin

Andrew Medley (left) and Taylor Wood have proven to be a formidable duo this week at Bandon Dunes. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

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If Andrew Medley could play just one hole on the Old Macdonald course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, it would definitely be the par-5 17th.

During the 5th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, he’s eagled it in a practice round, eagled it again in the Round of 16, and added a birdie there to seal his side’s quarterfinal win Tuesday afternoon.

Medley, 39, and Taylor Wood, 35, defeated Devon Hopkins and Matt Kleinrock, 2 and 1, to advance to the semifinals on Wednesday, where they will face Logan Shuping and Blake Taylor at 7 a.m. PDT.

“They’re going to put a plaque there with my name on it,” Medley joked afterward of the 557-yard 17th. “I don’t know. It just sets up well for my eye.”

Going into the hole 2 up, Medley’s approach landed in a bunker fronting the green, leaving himself 35 yards. Kleinrock had already hit his third shot to 4 feet. But Medley knocked his bunker shot to 3 feet and made the birdie putt to end the match.

“I had a bad lie, but I knew if I chunked it out it would eventually get there because the hole was sitting in a bowl,” said Medley, of Scottsdale, Ariz. “It wasn’t as hard as it might have looked.”

His partner disagreed. “He hit a phenomenal bunker shot there, thank God,” said Wood, of Coto de Caza, Calif.

The pair had jumped out an early 3-up lead after six holes, thanks to consecutive birdies from No. 4. It was quite a turnaround from their morning match against Jason Anthony and Randy Haag, in which the duo was 3 down after eight holes before rallying to win, 2 up.

“It (the quarterfinal match) was our first time really leading a match that early and I think we got a little complacent there and kind of lost a little focus,” said Medley. “We got off to a good start and they gave us a couple of holes. But Taylor played outstanding out of the gate.”

Conditions had changed dramatically between the two rounds on Tuesday with gusts as high as 20 mph. “This morning was benign and very gettable,” said Taylor. “This afternoon was just a total battle with the wind. We were patient and hit a lot of good shots early. Then it was just kind of a grind from there after kind of getting tired and worn out.”

Medley and Wood knew each other through college golf (Medley played at the University of Mississippi for three years and one season at the University of Arizona; Taylor at USC) and have mutual friends in Arizona. Both have played in the championship before but never as partners.

Wood, who qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club, advanced to match play in the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in 2015 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco and in 2017 on Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 in North Carolina, but lost in the Round of 32 both times.

Medley reached the Round of 32 in 2017 partnering with Ken Tanigawa, who joined the Champions Tour in 2018 after turning 50 and won the Senior PGA Championship this past weekend at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.  

“I just got a text from him telling me good job and keep it up,” Medley said after the quarterfinal win. “He’s at home right now sipping bubbly. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

As for Medley and Taylor, they still have work to do.

“I think this championship is harder than the U.S. Amateur to qualify for,” said Wood. “Making it to the semis means we’re exempt next year, which is total gravy.”

“We’re excited,” said Medley. “This could be our year.”

“We’ll just keep doing our thing,” said Wood. “It’s been working.”

And maybe they’ll get a chance for more magic on No. 17.

Arizona resident Tom Mackin is a frequent contributor to USGA digital channels. Email him at temackinjr@gmail.com.

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