CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. – Ricardo Gouveia may need a refresher course on the final two holes at Cherry Hills Country Club.
The last time the 20-year-old from Portugal played those two holes was on Monday in his opening round of stroke-play qualifying, and because he started on the back side, they were his eighth and ninth holes.
Since then, the only time Gouveia, a junior at Central Florida, has seen the two closing holes has been while riding in a golf cart back to the clubhouse after one of his matches.
Gouveia has played the fewest holes of any of the eight players advancing to Friday’s quarterfinals. It took him only 45 total holes to win three matches.
He rolled past Eric Frazzetta in Wednesday’s first round, 4 and 3, defeated Patrick Duncan Jr., 3 and 2, on Thursday morning, then made his way into the quarterfinals later that afternoon with an impressive 6-and-4 victory over Devon Purser, 19, of Clearfield, Utah.
Against Purser, a former Utah Junior Golf Association Player of the Year who lost in the third round at the 2010 U.S. Junior, Gouveia never trailed. He won the first hole with a birdie. Purser got it back with a birdie at No. 3.
Four holes later, Gouveia went on the best run of any player at this year’s championship, winning holes 7-12 – four of those with birdies – and went to 6 up. After Purser won 13 with a par, Gouveia closed things out with a par at 14.
“Yesterday afternoon and today are the best I have played all week,” Gouveia said. “I don’t think I’ve had a lot of pressure on me. This afternoon is my best golf by far, and the result tells everything. I had six birdies, and it was good to get some confidence for tomorrow.”
While Gouveia may be a bit of an unknown player, he certainly brings an impressive college/amateur resume into his first U.S. Amateur.
During his sophomore campaign last year at Central Florida, he was an honorable mention All-American and led the Knights with a 71.5 scoring average. Gouveia began his college career at Lynn University in Florida before transferring last season.
He helped lead Lynn to a second-place finish in the NCAA Division II Championship and tied for third individually. He was a first-team All-American and won that division’s Phil Mickelson Award as freshman of the year.
Earlier this summer, he advanced to the Round of 16 at the British Amateur and tied for ninth at the European Challenge.
This week he’s making people sit up and take notice, and now he’s one of eight players still standing from the starting field of 312 in the USGA’s oldest championship.
Gouveia will face Michael Weaver, a junior at California, in the quarterfinals.
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ROUND OF 16
Justin Thomas def. Bobby Wyatt, 1 up
Oliver Goss def. Bobby Leopold, 2 and 1
Ricardo Gouveia def. Devon Purser, 6 and 4
Michael Weaver def. Albin Choi, 19 holes
Steven Fox def. Zack Munroe, 2 up
Chris Williams def. Edouard Espana, 3 and 2
Cheng-Tsung Pan def. Andrew Presley, 2 up
Brandon Hagy def. Patrick Newcomb, 3 and 2