Predictions: U.S. Amateur quarterfinals

The U.S. Amateur quarterfinals are set for Friday at Atlanta Athletic Club.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The 114th U.S. Amateur Championship is dwindling down.

To start the day Thursday, we had 32 players left. Now there are just 8.

A few notes for thought:

• The average age of the eight quarterfinalists is 22. Nathan Smith is the oldest at 36, while Cameron Young is the youngest at 17.

• There are six Americans left in the field. Corey Conners hails from Canada and Gunn Yang was born in Korea, and now attends San Diego State.

• Nathan Smith is the only player left to have won one or more USGA titles.

Here are some predictions for the quarterfinals matches at Atlanta Athletic Club:

• • •

Match #1: Nathan Smith vs. Frederick Wedel, 11:00 a.m.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

• Smith def. Lee McCoy (19 holes); Brandon McIver (4 and 3); Byron Meth (21 holes)

• Wedel def. Carson Jacobs (5 and 4); Derek Bard (2 and 1); Jimmy Mullen (2 and 1)

Stein: Smith. The dream run continues for the four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion. Smith, though he has never made it this far at the U.S. Amateur, knows how to handle himself in a big-time atmosphere. Wedel, a junior at Pepperdine, is playing in his first match-play tournament – EVER. That says a lot about him and how he plays the game, but I think his dream run ends, while another continues.

Masuda: Smith. While he shunned what experience means in this tournament, I am a firm believer in the been-there, done-that philosophy. Smith is on a roll and I think this is setting up for a potential fifth trip to Augusta. There's something to be said for getting hot at the right time.

• • •

Match #2: Cameron Young vs. Gunn Yang, 11:20 a.m.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

• Young def. Tyler Torano (19 holes); Isaiah Logue (2 up); Kyle Jones (1 up)

• Yang def. Seth Reeves (1 up); Paul Howard (1 up); Ollie Schniederjans (1 up)

Stein: Young. Sure, Young, a Wake Forest commit, hasn’t taken down any big names, but when it comes down to it, he can handle the pressure coming down the stretch. Sure, Yang defeated the No. 1 player in the world in Schniederjans, plus another Yellow Jacket in Reeves, so he is public enemy No. 1 at AAC from here on out. But I don’t think he’ll be able to handle Young, who is just trying to make a name for himself.

Masuda: Yang. I watched the kid play his final nine holes and he took Schniederjans on with no fear. He's not going to be afraid of Young. His swing is smooth and doesn't have a lot of movement in it, which will allow him to be consistent down the stretch according to his caddie. Thursday's big win will be a huge momentum-builder for him.

• • •

Match #3: Corey Conners vs. Zachary Olsen, 11: 40 a.m.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

• Conners def. Scottie Scheffler (1 up); Jesse Heinly (4 and 3); Jon Rahm (3 and 2)

• Olsen def. Adam Svensson (2 and 1); Bo Andrews (4 and 3); Will Zalatoris (5 and 3)

Stein: Conners. Experience is key when trying to win a U.S. Amateur and the 22-year-old Canadian has plenty of that after advancing to the semifinals in 2013. Conners, as well as Olsen, have taken down some pretty big names that were favorites to win this event. Conners has control of his irons and can make putts from all over the green – another key to winning in any type of match-play situation.

Masuda: Olsen. This might be the best match of the day, but Olsen hasn't even seen the 18th hole in match play this week. The kid is used to pressure, winning one of the best junior tournaments in the world, the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. I expect this one to reach the 18th and possibly even extras.

• • •

Match #4: Roman Robledo vs. Denny McCarthy, 12:00 p.m.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

• Robledo def. Mookie DeMoss (1 up); Robby Shelton (1 up); Bryson Dechambeau (3 and 1)

• McCarthy def. Jonathan Woo (7 and 5); Jonathan Chang (5 and 3); Eli Cole (1 up)

Stein: McCarthy. He has shown that he can get up in matches and close the deal, as well as trail in matches and grind out wins. McCarthy’s game is in tip-top shape and he has shown that throughout the summer. In his interview Thursday evening, McCarthy said he is driving the ball he best he’s ever had, and this is a driver's golf course. With the “monkey off his back” of getting past the Round of 64, McCarthy make have what it takes to go the distance, especially on the much tougher side of the draw. Though, Robledo has beat a stellar cast of players to get to the quarters, I still believe McCarthy goes the distance and beats him.

Masuda: Robledo. He took down two big guns in Robby Shelton and Bryson Dechambeau. This will be a great match as well, as McCarthy's late comeback on Thursday was impressive. But Robledo seems relaxed and very confident, which could be key in the quarterfinals.

Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification