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Cantlay, Uihlein meet in Western Am quarters

GLENVIEW, Ill. – It was the classic matchup – the one that would be most fitting if it came in the final to determine the champion.

It was bound to be a showdown between the world’s top two amateurs. It was Patrick Cantlay, winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award as college player of the year last season, vs. Peter Uihlein, winner of this past Ben Hogan Award as the nation’s top college/amateur player.

The thing is, it didn’t come in the final. Instead, Cantlay and Uihlein headed off the first tee in Friday afternoon’s quarterfinal round at the 109th Western Amateur at North Shore Country Club.

Both players, named earlier this week among the initial four selections to this year’s U.S. Walker Cup team, rolled to 3-and-2 victories Friday morning in the Sweet 16 round.

Cantlay, who gained the 16th and final match play seed by winning a playoff over Michael Cromie the previous day, defeated No. 1 seed Chris Williams, who was stroke-play medalist after a tournament record 16-under 268.

Uihlein, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion who was 4-0-0 in helping lead America to victory at the 2009 Walker Cup, turned back Gregor Main.

Williams, who won the Pacific Coast Am last week, won the second hole, but Cantlay, a sophomore at UCLA, came back to win Nos. 6 and 7 with birdies and No. 8 with a par to go 2 up. Williams cut the margin by one with a par at the 10th, only to have Cantlay come back and take the 12th with a birdie. Cantlay closed out the match by winning No. 16 with a par.

For the match, Cantlay had five birdies and a pair of bogeys, while Williams had two birdies – both only good for halved holes – and three bogeys.

Uihlein, a two-time first-team All-America at Oklahoma State, won holes 2 and 3, while Main won the fourth. Uihlein then went 3-up by winning Nos. 6 and 9 with pars. Main came back to win 14 with a birdie, but Uihlein won 15 with a par and the match ended when both made par at 16.

For the match, both players made four birdies, but while Uihlein made just one bogey, Main had four.

In other Sweet 16 matches:

• Andrew Putnam won holes 16 and 17 and held on for a 1-up victory over Emiliano Grillo.

• Jeffrey Kang edged 2009 Western Am champion John Hahn, 2 up. Hahn took an early lead by winning Nos. 1 and 3, but Kang squared the match by winning Nos. 4 and 5. Kang won the 12th and 14th to go 2 up, but Hahn won 15. Kang closed it out with a birdie at 18.

• Andrew Yun outlasted No. 2 seed Patrick Rodgers, who had a pair of 65s in the final two stroke play rounds the previous day, winning on the 21st hole. Rodgers, who last week won the Porter Cup, won holes 11 and 12 with birdies to go 2 up, but Yun won 12 and 16 to square the match. Rodgers won 17, but Yun forced extra holes with a birdie at the 18th and won the match with another birdie at the 21st hole.

• Cheng-Tsung Pan made par at the 20th hole to defeat Mackenzie Hughes. Neither player was more than 1 up at any point in the match. Pan went on top with a birdie at No. 15, but Hughes answered with a birdie at 16 to square it. This marked the first time Pan has advanced out of the first round. He was stroke-play medalist the past two years, but fell in the opening match both times.

• Jordan Spieth, who last month won his second U.S. Junior Amateur title, eased past Alex Kang, 4 and 3. Spieth won the first two holes and never looked back. He went 4 up by winning Nos. 4 and 5 and his lead was never less than 3 up the rest of the way.

• Ethan Tracy overcame an early deficit and went on to defeat Derek Ernst, 3 and 2. Ernst was 2 up and three holes and 3 up through seven. Tracy surged back and won holes 9, 10 and 11 to square the match and then won 13, 14 and 15 to go 3 up. Both made birdie at the 16th to end the match.

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