Ball falls to Fitzpatrick, but still believes

Adam Ball shakes hands with Matthew Fitzpatrick after Ball lost 4 and 3 during the quarterfinals at the 2013 U. S. Amateur at The Country Club.

— Adam Ball came to Brookline, Mass., just outside of Boston, as maybe the only player who believed he had a chance to win the U.S. Amateur.

Leaving after a 4-and-3 defeat to Matt Fitzpatrick of England in the quarterfinals Friday, Ball still believes he can win the U.S. Amateur, but will have to wait until next year to get a chance.

At 19 years old, Ball came to the U.S. Amateur with a good amount of positive experience in the junior ranks, including finishing third at the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur and as a three-time Virginia Golf Association Junior Golfer of the Year.

Heavily recruited by Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, USC, South Carolina and Wake Forest, Ball, a rising sophomore, stayed near home at VCU where his father, Matt, is head coach.

To add to the family theme, brother Matt is a senior on the team as well.

“I think it was a great decision for me,” Ball said. “I had a lot of other looks, but I never really gave anybody interest. It's where I always had my heart set.”

Coming into Friday’s quarters, Ball was the lesser-known player, but that never bothered him. Employing a consistently aggressive nature, using his driver mostly off the tee, Ball outdrove Fitzpatrick by 50 yards at times.

Results from Friday's quarterfinal matches

“When there's trouble I'm not afraid to go after it,” Ball said of his assertive mindset. “Going into flags, that got me in trouble a couple times on the back nine, but under the circumstances I felt that I needed to go for those flags, and with the greens being firmer today than they have been, the ball just didn't react the way it has been.”

As often as Ball had lesser clubs into many of the holes, he failed to convert those chances. When the match made the turn to the back nine, Fitzpatrick was steady while Ball lost control at times of his swing and the match.

“When I get under pressure I start swinging a little hard and I get out of my posture and I either block it way right or turn my hands over and hit it way left,” Ball said of his back nine. “It's something I've always had a problem with, but coming into today I hadn't had an issue with it. It is what it is. It happens.”

Ball’s love of golf extends back to when he was a toddler. His parents would put him in a baby seat in the golf cart at Richmond (Va.) Country Club, where his father was the head professional.

That passion for golf evolved over time and while he dabbled with other sports, mainly soccer and basketball, golf was always where his desires rested.

Now Ball returns home to Richmond and will start school next week knowing he got to the quarterfinals – and believing he can advance further.

“It's my passion, it's my life, I love it, and I'm not going to let something like this get me down,” Ball said of his defeat to Fitzpatrick. “I'm going to come back and work harder and be better next year.”

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