PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (August 14, 2013) – After the rounds of 32 and 16 at the 110th Annual NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship at Spyglass Hill, only eight players are left, and surprisingly enough, the player arguably playing the best golf is the lowest seed remaining.
Cody Robinson, the No. 24 seed, won both his matches with considerable ease on Wednesday, winning his first match over No. 9 seed Austin Weatherholt 4-and-2, and his afternoon match against No. 25 seed Matt Cohn 4-and-3. In short, the Discovery Bay resident played only 31 holes, the only player remaining in the field who didn’t have to play the 17th and 18th holes.
“I just have been focusing on playing my own game, I’m not really thinking about what other guys are scoring” said the 22-year-old.
The rising senior at St. Mary’s College had five birdies and an eagle over his two matches and hopes to continue to hit fairways giving himself scoring opportunities on Thursday. He also hopes he’s fortunate enough to not have any matches come down to the wire.
“I feel like if I keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll be pretty set,” he said.
Robinson’s quarterfinal opponent on Thursday only gets tougher as he squares off against medalist and No. 1 seed Alex Franklin at 7:15 a.m. The San Rafael resident had a grind-it-out match Wednesday morning against No. 32 seed Jordan Weir, winning the match on the 18th hole with a par. In his round of 16 match, Franklin had a much easier time beating Austin Roberts 5-and-3, never trailing once in the match after winning the fourth hole.
Also playing extremely well, having only played 31 holes on Wednesday is No. 10 seed Corey Pereira. The 18-year-old had what seemed more like a semifinal match in the morning, going up against 17-year-old Maverick McNealy, the No. 23 seed. Pereira advanced there winning 2-and-1, and then cruised in the afternoon beating 18-year-old Cameron Champ 6-and-5.
Matching up against Pereira in the quarterfinals at 7:30 a.m. is another teenager, 17-year-old Sebastian Crampton, the No. 18 seed. The Pacific Grove resident didn’t have to see the 18th hole on Wednesday winning his morning match against No. 15 seed Joe Huston 4-and-2, and then beating the No. 2 seed Jonathan De Los Reyes 3-and-1.
Crampton has made a nice progression in the NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship over the past couple years, making it to the round of 16 in 2011 and the quarterfinals in 2012. This year he hopes to continue that progression by winning his Thursday morning match, but knows he has a tough task ahead of him.
“I’d like to do it, but I have to take it one match at a time, and Corey [Pereira] is a [great] player,” he said.
The first match out Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m. features No. 5 seed Jeff Murphy against two-time NCGA Stroke Play Champion Ben Geyer, the No. 13 seed. Murphy’s day consisted of matches that went to the 16th and 17th holes, beating No. 28 seed Keelan Kilpatrick 2-and-1 in the morning, and No. 22 seed Taylor Hobin 3-and-2 in the afternoon.
At 26-years-old, Murphy is the oldest remaining player left in the field, and the only hope for a mid-amateur to repeat. Having recently gotten his amateur status back within the last 18 months or so, Murphy has been enjoying his transition back into amateur golf. The only thing on the Pleasant Hill resident’s mind after Wednesday’s matches was recharging for another day of golf.
“I just want to get a good night’s sleep, I’m tired, it’s been a long day,” said Murphy.
Geyer feels extremely fortunate to be in the quarterfinals, when it looked like he very may well have been out of it. After beating former college teammate Alex Bungert in the morning 2-and-1, Geyer’s round of 16 match with No. 4 seed Cody Blick came down to the 18th hole.
Going into No. 18 all square after being 2 down through 13 holes, Geyer short-sided himself in the bunker left of the 18th green, while Blick was 30 feet away on the green for birdie. After Geyer hit his bunker shot to four feet, Blick’s slick downhill putt went past the hole and down a tier to leave himself with a 25-foot par putt coming back. Once Blick missed his par putt, Geyer calmly knocked in his par putt to win the match 1-up.
“I got fortunate that he three-putted,” said Geyer. “It was a huge relief to have that change of emotion to think you’re probably going home, and then have it so you’re actually going to win the hole.”
The final quarterfinal match on Thursday at 7:45 a.m. pairs No. 19 seed Ryan Knop with No. 11 seed Andrew Morgan. Knop had a fairly easy time in his morning match beating Daniel Butcher 4-and-3, taking the lead after the first hole and never relinquishing it. Then in his afternoon match the 16-year-old beat out one of the pre-tournament favorites, No. 3 seed Matt Hansen 3-and-2.
Similarly, Morgan took out top players of his own, first taking out defending champion Jake Yount in the morning by a 2-up margin, and then beating No. 6 seed Josh Stone 4-and-3. The 19-year-old was very impressive winning the first hole in both of his matches and never having a match square up once.
The four players to survive their quarterfinal matches will play Thursday afternoon at 12:30 or 12:45 respectively, with the winner of those two matches qualifying for the final. The 36-hole final will take place Friday beginning at 7:00 a.m.