An moves closer to U.S. Amateur history
U.S. Amateur (Quarterfinals)
Peter Uihlein, David Chung, Byeong-Hun An and Patrick Cantlay remain at Chambers Bay.
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Even after playing arguably his two worst shots of the championship, Byeong-Hun An never panicked. That’s the experience of a past champion at work.
An never trailed in his match against California-Berkeley teammate Max Homa, holding on for a 1-up victory to advance to the semifinals. An is the first defending champion to reach the semis the following year since Tiger Woods won the last of his three straight U.S. Amateur titles in 1996.
“I’m really happy I’m here right now,” said An, 18, of Bradenton, Fla. “But I guess I’ll be more happy if I get to the finals and win.”
He first had to get past Homa, a sophomore at Cal who rolled T.J. Bordeaux, Carter Newman and Harris English en route to reaching the quarterfinals. Despite now playing for the same school – An is an incoming freshman – the two had never played together.
Eighteen holes with the defending champ provided a sufficient scouting report.
“He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and that’s what you have to do in match play on a course this hard,” Homa said.
An ran into trouble on the closing stretch, burying his tee shot in a greenside bunker on 17, leading to a bogey, and flaring his tee shot to the right of the 18th fairway. But both An and Homa laid up to about the same spot, some 100 yards away, and faced tricky wedge shots into a tight hole location.
Both came up well short of the flag and two-putted for par, giving An the narrow victory.
“I have my own way to win the match play,” An said. “Because even though you may be 1 or 2 down, you never know what’s going to win after 18 holes.”