Wedel's U.S. Amateur run continues

Frederick Wedel won his match Thursday afternoon against Jimmy Mullen, 2 and 1, to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur.
Frederick Wedel won his match Thursday afternoon against Jimmy Mullen, 2 and 1, to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur. ( Tracy Wilcox )

Friday, August 15, 2014

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Can Frederick Wedel’s dream run in his first U.S. Amateur Championship continue?

His week started off with a bang as he made the first hole-in-one of his young career during one of his practice rounds on Atlanta Athletic Club’s Riverside course – the companion course for the 114th U.S. Amateur stroke-play rounds.

His luck has continued into competition.

Things became interesting after the first round of stroke play, as he had to get a new caddie and has had a different one over the last couple of days, too.

“I told Brent (Babbit, his caddie for Thursday’s 36-hole trot) walking up here that I was kind of skeptical about having a new guy on the bag today because I was worried about us getting along and gelling,” Wedel said. “I kept thinking about that. I was nervous about it, but I said to myself I can’t let that get in my way. You have to be mentally tougher than that.”

OK, so everything hasn’t gone perfectly for Wedel – other than his golf game.

The Pepperdine junior has dispatched three opponents to become a quarterfinalist in his first match-play event.

“It's definitely my best accomplishment, for sure,” the 19-year-old said. “I mean the U.S. Amateur is the biggest amateur event in the world. I'd rather be in the quarterfinals than win an event for sure. It's just different. It's on a whole other level.”

On Thursday, in his Round-of-16 match against England’s Jimmy Mullen, it was somewhat of a disaster for both players as they headed into the back nine.

After each player made a bogey to halve the hole at the 11th, it was Wedel who took the lead for good on No. 12 after Mullen's approach shot found the water.

“That was the biggest point in the match,” Wedel said. “Once I had the lead, I wasn't going to give it up.”

And he didn’t by winning three of the next four holes to close out Mullen on No. 17.

“Oh, I love match play,” Wedel said. “…You get to look the person in the eye all day. I mean, it brings out the best in me for sure.”

It may not have been The Woodlands, Texas, native best stuff, but his putting has helped him survive at the AAC.

“I’ve grinded out on that and my putting has gotten so much better,” Wedel said. “I was in a dark place with my putting last fall, so it's nice to finally be out of it and stand over these putts with confidence is huge.”

Moving forward, the putter will be the key to success in the quarterfinals and beyond, as he takes on mid-amateur Nathan Smith Friday morning.

“Whoever I play tomorrow, I just have to beat him once, and then it’s on to the next guy.” readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.