ASU's Rahm, USC's Crocker advance to quarterfinals of U.S. Amateur Championship
Arizona State's Jon Rahm and USC's Sean Crocker will carry the Pac-12 torch into the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur championship Friday at Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois. Four Pac-12 golfers entered Thursday with championship aspirations and all four advanced to the round of 16 before half of the conference bunch fell in the third round of the match-play portion of the event.
Talk about a domination sensation – Arizona State’s Jon Rahm needed to play just 29 holes today to win his two matches and advance to the quarterfinals. First, he defeated Cameron Young 7 and 6 (meaning Rahm was up seven holes with six to play). Rahm, the 2015 Ben Hogan Award recipient and No. 1 amateur in the world, won four of the first six holes and only conceded No. 8 to Young, who defeated defending USGA Amateur champion Gunn Yang 3 and 2 in the first round. After losing the eighth hole, Rahm won the next four to close out his competitor. Moving on to the Sweet 16, Rahm got a stiffer challenge from Daniel Wetterich of Cincinnati, Ohio, but still defeated the Cincy kid 3 and 1. Rahm took the lead on the fourth hole and never looked back against Wetterich, who claimed only one hole off the Sun Devil. Rahm clinched the match by birdieing the par-3 17th. The televised world is starting to take note of this fella:
— FOX Sports 1 (@FOXSports1) August 20, 2015
A 15-foot putt on the 20th hole put Sean Crocker past Alabama's Robby Shelton in Thursday afternoon's round-of-16 matchup. A seesaw battle that saw neither player lead by more than one hole, Shelton birdied the 18th hole to force extra golf. This came after Crocker birdied the 17th to go 1 up... which came after Shelton's birdie on 16 to get all square. Earlier Thursday, a par on 17 lifted the Trojan to a 3-and-1 triumph over VCU’s Adam Ball in the round of 32 Thursday morning. It was a wire-to-wire win for the sophomore from Zimbabwe, as Crocker took the first two holes and claimed a three-hole lead after Ball bogeyed the 10th. Ball cut it down to two after a birdie on the par-3 15th, but bogeyed 17 to drop the match. Crocker now moves on to face Robby Shelton of Alabama in the round of 16, and Zimbabwe will be watching:
— USGA (@USGA) August 21, 2015
Maverick McNealy bowed out in the round of 16 after losing a 3-and-2 decision to SMU's Bryson DeChambeau. The Cardinal golfer held the lead twice early on and came back to get all square through 10 holes, but DeChambeau won three of the next four holes to grab a strangle of the match. Earlier in the day In a battle of the Mavericks, McNealy easily handled Maverick Antcliff 5 and 4 to advance to the round of 16. After splitting the first two holes (McNealy winning the first and Antcliff taking the second), McNealy took three of the next four holes to go up three a third of the way through the round. The Nicklaus Award winner won the ninth and 13th holes and clinched the match by halving No. 14.
Maverick McNealy wins for most American name at U.S. Amateur
— Chris A. Blanchette (@Its_onlyCAB) August 20, 2015
UCLA’s Jake Knapp is out of the match-play competition after losing to Canadian and Charleston Southern golfer Austin James in a 2-and-1 decision in the round of 16. A back-and-forth affair was all square through 11 holes before James claimed two of the next three holes to seize control of the match. Still holding on two a two-hole lead, James closed out Knapp's stay in Illinois when both parred the 17th hole. Earlier Thursday, Knapp advanced to the third round of match play after edging out TCU’s Chelso Barrett 1 up in the morning round. Never trailing against the Horned Frog, Knapp got out to an initial lead by winning the fourth and fifth holes and pushed his lead to three after taking the 11th. Barrett won 12 and 13 to close the gap to one, but Knapp and Barrett halved the final five holes, thus advancing Knapp to the round of 16.
— USGA (@USGA) August 20, 2015
Pac-12.com will have continued coverage of the U.S. Amateur Championship Friday.