U.S. Amateur final proves match play experience goes long way

USGA/Chris Keane

U.S. Amateur final proves match play experience goes long way

Amateur

U.S. Amateur final proves match play experience goes long way

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PINEHURST, N.C. – Young players flourished this week at Pinehurst, with three junior golfers advancing to the 119th U.S. Amateur quarterfinals.

Two rounds later, it’s a pair of college seniors with extensive match play experience playing for the Havemeyer Trophy.

Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree and Vanderbilt’s John Augenstein advanced to Sunday’s 36-hole final match, which Ogletree predicted when he looked at the bracket after the Round of 16. Ogletree defeated 17-year-old high school junior Cohen Trolio while Augenstein bounced the always-smiling Sam Houston State senior William Holcomb V.

U.S. AMATEUR: Match play results | Photo gallery

“We’ve been playing boys the last few rounds,” said Holcomb, who lost to Augenstein 3 and 2. “I mean, these guys are men.”

Men indeed, with plenty of big-tournament experience.

A native of Little Rock, Miss., a town with less than 2,000 people, one stop light and a gas station has an “incredible” seafood buffet on Friday nights, Ogletree is no stranger to USGA events. No. 120 in World Amateur Golf Ranking, he is playing in his fifth USGA championship and third consecutive U.S. Amateur. Ogletree advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur, won the 2019 Monroe Invitational in Pittsford, N.Y., and also won the 2016 Cardinal Amateur at Sedgefield C.C. in Greensboro, N.C.

His road to the semifinals featured stops against former Texas A&M star Chandler Phillips, 2020 Ohio State commit Maxwell Moldovan, Saint Mary’s Blake Hathcoat and Georgia’s Spencer Ralston.

“He’s a great player. Very well respected, and he’s accomplished a lot,” Augenstein said of his final opponent. “I just look at him as another guy who’s a good friend and good competitor.”

When Ogletree predicted the final match against Augenstein, he said he “thought we were the best two players left with the most experience” while also mentioning he’s heard Augenstein referred to as a “bulldog.”

“I know he’s a competitor. I know he’s — a lot of people say he’s a bulldog, but I actually just saw a Tweet that said John is the only one with credentials here,” said Ogletree. “That’s kind of got me motivated and ready to go tomorrow.”

Augenstein’s credentials are as follows: Ranked No. 38 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, third-team All-American honors at Vanderbilt, 2018 Players Amateur champion, member of the 2019 USA Palmer Cup Team, five USGA championship appearances, with this week being his second U.S. Amateur. The Commodore senior advanced to the Round of 32 at last year’s U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach, and was a semifinalist in the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur.

Despite earning the No. 18 seed with rounds of 70-71 earlier this week, Augenstein faced a slew of difficult opponents en route to the final match.

First up was 2020 North Carolina commit Ryan Smith, followed by Akshay Bhatia, the No. 5-ranked amateur in the world. Next up was the tournament’s No. 2 seed Ricky Castillo, followed by Notre Dame freshman Palmer Jackson.

Augenstein described himself as being competitive, gritty, and determined, and he’ll need all those qualities – and more – in Sunday’s 36-hole final against a calm and motivated Ogletree.

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