BROOKLINE, Mass. – On a day where five of the eight quarterfinalists were foreign-born players at the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club, we leave Friday for the first time with an all foreign-born semifinal Saturday.
Here are 5 Things to Know from Friday’s four matches at the U.S. Amateur:
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1. OH, CANADA: Corey Conners of Listowel, Ontario, defeated stroke-play co-medalist Neil Raymond, 5 and 3, in the first quarterfinal match.
The momentum changed on No. 9 when Conners got up-and-down from the thick rough around the green and made par to Raymond’s bogey.
The same continued on Nos. 10-12 as Conners continued to get up-and-down to save par from the 5- to 10-foot range. He credited recent attention to his short game.
“I’ve been working a lot on it,” Conners said. “The lies around these greens can get pretty dicey at times . . . I’ve been really focusing on what I want to do and I think it’s been working out.”
On No. 13, he made birdie from just off the green and he was dormie five.
Conners made a mess of the long par-4 14th, before closing the door on No. 15 with a two-putt.
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2. FITZ MOVES ON: Matthew Fitzpatrick didn’t get off to a fast start like he has in most of his matches, but he slowed down Adam Ball of Richmond, Va., enough to move onto the semifinals with a 4 and 3 win.
Fitzpatrick has still yet to go past the 15th hole in match play, having played only 60 out of a possible 72 holes.
“Yeah, I’ve played them all twice this week, which is OK,” he said.
Fitzpatrick won holes Nos. 9-12, part of the toughest stretch of holes on the course, with pars. He was on cruise control to the 15th where he two-putted to win the match.
“It’s definitely a nice feeling,” said Fitzpatrick, No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, about moving onto the semifinals.
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3. AUSSIE NO. 1: Co-medalist Brady Watt won his quarterfinal match against 17-year-old Scottie Scheffler, 1-up.
Though, Scheffler didn’t go away so easily. Known for come-from-behind wins, Scheffler, the U.S. Junior Amateur champion, led or was all-square in his match until the 15th hole.
Along the way, Scheffler aced the 197-yard par-3 seventh.
“I knew it would release down that hill, and then hit a pretty good shot, and it landed up on top of the hill, starting rolling down and then we all just started walking up; and about six, seven seconds later everyone started cheering, and it just went in,” Scheffler said.
Watt fought back by rolling in a 20-foot birdie putt down the hill on No. 15 from the collar of the green.
The match went to 18, and it was Watt who was able to get up-and-down out of a ‘terrible’ lie.
He added: “He took the marker out and I couldn’t find it pretty much. Lucky my caddie was standing there because it was buried. It was like someone stepped on it, and it was unreal, the worst one I’ve seen all week.”
Scheffler had a fried-egg lie in the greenside bunker and couldn’t make it to the putting surface.
Watt tapped in a 4-footer and he is moving on to Saturday.
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4. AUSSIE NO. 2: Oliver Goss, a quarterfinalist at the 2012 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills, beat Brandon Matthews, 5 and 3, to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.
Goss, a sophomore at Tennessee, made a 20-foot birdie putt on the 15th to punch his ticket.
“I definitely didn’t expect to win 5 and 3 today,” Goss said. “I think I played 53 out of 54 holes (in the first three matches), and to win 5 and 3 today was pretty unexpected. But I’m glad I got the job done.”
Goss got off to a fast start and didn’t take the foot off the gas. He only lost one hole to Matthews and that was No. 2 when he went in the water behind the green.
“But I put that behind me fairly quickly, just stood up on the next and stroked a 2-iron down next to the green,” he said. “I moved on fairly quickly.”
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Only one match went past the 15th hole Friday (Watt vs. Scheffler). . . . Of the four matches, the three remaining Americans were knocked out (Scheffler, Ball and Matthews). . . . Scheffler’s hole-in-one was the fourth of his career, second in competition. He used a 7-iron from 197 yards.