Riley, Hammer among semifinalists at Western Amateur

Riley, Hammer among semifinalists at Western Amateur

Amateur

Riley, Hammer among semifinalists at Western Amateur

The penultimate day of the Western Amateur is complete, leaving just a quartet vying for the 2018 crown.

Match play commenced Friday at Sunset Ridge Country Club in Northfield, Ill., with Round of 16 matches taking place in the morning and the quarterfinals following in the afternoon. By the end, only four players were left.

Cole Hammer, Davis Riley, Tyler Strafaci and Brandon Wu made it through Friday and have moved onto the semifinals at the Western Amateur.

The semis will take place Saturday morning, with the final finishing things off in the afternoon.

Hammer, an incoming Texas freshman, was co-medalist in stroke play and the No. 1 seed but got a fierce fight in the Round of 16 by Alabama’s Davis Shore before triumphing in 20 holes. The quarterfinals weren’t much easier, but Hammer once again passed through.

He was 2 down to Georgia’s Spencer Ralston through 13 but then won three straight holes and eventually earned a 1-up victory.

Riley, on the other hand, had a breezy Friday. The Alabama stalwart defeated Min Woo Lee, 4 and 3, in the morning and downed Hayden Springer, 5 and 3, in the quarterfinals. This marks the second time in three years Riley has reached the semifinals.

Strafaci, grandson of 1953 Western Amateur medalist Frank Strafaci, went more of the Hammer route, as the Georgia Tech player beat Isaac Merry 1 up in the morning and snuck past Kaiwen Liu in the quarters with a 2-up triumph.

The remaining semifinalist may be the unlikeliest. Wu demolished Kyle Michel, 6 and 5, in the Round of 16 but was on the brink of elimination in the quarters.

He was 2 down to Vanderbilt’s John Augenstein on the 17th tee but parred to win that hole and drained a 12-footer for birdie at the 18th to force a playoff.

Wu birdied again on the first extra hole, coaxing in a 4-footer, to complete the late comeback against Augenstein and move on.

The Stanford player will face Hammer in the semifinals, while Riley and Strafaci do battle in the other.

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