Schniederjans cruises to 6-and-5 win at U.S. Am
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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Ollie Schniederjans has an inherent advantage this week at the 114th U.S. Amateur, although it easily could be a distraction if the Georgia Tech senior weren't headstrong.
The world's top-ranked amateur is playing in his figurative backyard this week, with throngs of fans following his every move at Atlanta Athletic Club – something that gives him an idea of what the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy deal with every week on the PGA Tour.
"It could definitely be a distraction for me playing here with so many people watching," said Schniederjans, a Georgia Tech senior from nearby Powder Springs. "But I think part of it bothers the guy I'm playing against. I know it bothered the two guys we played with yesterday, the last two days."
And Matt Teesdale didn't fare much better, barely making Schniederjans break a sweat in a 6-and-5 romp that sends the All-American into the Round of 32 against Sam Burns, a 2-and-1 winner over Matt NeSmith.
Schniederjans made his presence felt immediately, making birdie at No. 1 from 4 feet and getting up and down on No. 2 to take a 2-up lead. He'd win the seventh and ninth holes to go 4 up heading into the turn.
"Kind of was tough for him to come back from that," said Schniederjans, who gets out of the first round of match play for the first time, pointing to recent experiences at the NCAA Championships and Palmer Cup as reasons for improvement in match play.
Schniederjans acknowledged anxiousness in firing a 73 in Monday's opening round of stroke play, while not even feeling completely comfortable during Tuesday's 69 because of pace of play, calling it a "circus."
"It's hard for me to stay patient, but today I can kind of walk to the beat of my own drum and I stayed in momentum and rhythm all day."
With his day on the course ending early, Schniederjans says he was going to head home, kick up his feet and continue reading the late Seve Ballesteros' autobiography. With the potential for two matches Thursday, Schniederjans knows that rest is important. He also took four weeks off before the Amateur to visit his girlfriend in Laguna Beach, Calif., where he hit the beach more than the links.
"I'm very physically fit for it and today couldn't have gone better mentally for me to relax," he said. "The last two days were really draining. So today was great, and I'll go get some good sleep tonight."
Being home is proving to be truly sweet.