Junior Boys

A closer look: U.S. Junior, Round of 16

Andy Zhang hits a shot during the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas.
Andy Zhang hits a shot during the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas. ( USGA )

Thursday, July 24, 2014

THE WOODLANDS, Texas –– It’s time to grab a quick bite to eat and head back out to the course.

Thursday marks the first of three straight scheduled 36-hole days at the U.S. Junior Amateur. The field was cut in half following Thursday morning’s Round of 32, where just one match reached the 18th hole, and will be reduced to just eight by day’s end at The Club at Carlton Woods.

Here’s a closer look at the Round of 16 matches (all times local):

• • •

Sean Crocker vs. Sahith Theegala, 1 p.m.

This match pits two Southern California boys against each other. The two are friends, too, and have played many tournaments together in the past. Crocker is the top seed and won six of his seven holes with birdie en route to beating John Augenstein, 3 and 2. Theegala won all five of his holes with par to dispatch of Nathan Jeansonne, 4 and 3.

• • •

Will Zalatoris vs. Will Dickson, 1:10 p.m.

Zalatoris, the lone Texan remaining in the field, topped Marty Dou, a quarterfinalist last year, 3 and 2, in the Round of 32. Zalatoris got down early, but the self-proclaimed “adrenaline junkie” rallied to advance. Dickson, however, has made a habit of getting up early in his matches. He beat John Pak, 4 and 3, in the Round of 32.

• • •

Will Grimmer vs. Anton Serafini, 1:20 p.m.

Serafini doesn’t know anything about Grimmer, and he didn’t know Grimmer has played in last month’s U.S. Open, either. Upon learning that, though, Serafini said: “It doesn’t matter.” He defeated Brad Dalke in the Round of 64 before topping Eric Bae, 2 and 1, on Thursday morning. Grimmer isn’t the longest driver of the ball – “Maybe if I hit a rock, I can hit it over 300 (yards),” he joked. – but he’s managed well so far. He routed Cole Madey, 5 and 4, in the Round of 32.

• • •

Joshua McCarthy vs. Curtis Luck, 1:30 p.m.

McCarthy is the only player left in the field who played in the playoff to get into match play. He beat Dwight Cauthen, 4 and 3, to advance to the Round of 16, where he’ll face the Australian Luck. Despite his last name, Luck has made it this far based on talent. He topped Tanner Owens, 4 and 2, in the Round of 32.

• • •

Sam Horsfield vs. Zach Murray, 1:40 p.m.

Horsfield, who made it to the quarterfinals a year ago at this championship, beat Won Jun Lee, 3 and 2, in a second-round match that he led by as many as 4 up through 14 holes and never trailed after the seventh hole. Murray, the other Australian left in the field, beat Philip Barbaree, 3 and 2, to advance.

• • •

Andreas Halvorsen vs. Davis Shore, 1:50 p.m.

After routing one of the world’s top juniors, Ryan Ruffels, in the Round of 64, Halvorsen had a tougher go of things against Joshua Sedeno on the Round of 32. The Norwegian didn’t take his first lead until the 16th, but was able to close out a 2-up victory. Shore also had to battle Thursday, falling 2 down through four holes before knocking off David Snyder, 2 and 1.

• • •

Davis Riley vs. Aaron DeNucci, 2 p.m.

Riley, last year’s runner-up, went down early to Ashwin Arasu in the Round of 32, but birdied hole Nos. 3-6, winning three of them, before closing out a 5-and-4 victory. DeNucci, from Clive, Iowa, was 4 up through 10 holes, but then had to hold off a charge from Bryce Hendrix to advance, 2 and 1.

• • •

Doc Redman vs. Andy Zhang, 2:10 p.m.

Sure, Zhang has never made it this far in this event before, but he’s one of the top juniors in the country and has played in a U.S. Open (2012). He’s one of the longest players in the field and will be tough to beat if his short game is on – he made five birdies in a 5-and-3 victory over Tony Gil. Redman will be a tough out, though, after cruising to a 4-and-3 victory over Braden Thornberry.

• • •

Brentley Romine predicts the Round of 16 winners (26-22 record through two rounds): Crocker, Dickson, Serafini, Luck, Horsfield, Halvorsen, Riley, Zhang