Michael McDermott
Michael McDermott
MALVERN, Pa.–Michael Carr of Plymouth Country Club knew Michael McDermott by name and game from a pairing at last year’s Mid.-Am.

Surprises awash, the most unexpected development on Tuesday came in the result of the 114th Amateur Championship Round of 16 match between the two. Carr, the No. 16 seed, upset McDermott, the defending champion and medalist from Merion Golf Club, 2-up, to earn a berth in the quarterfinals at White Manor Country Club.

Also advancing into the Elite Eight are Alex Blickle of LedgeRock Golf Club; Ben Feld of Green Valley Country Club; Matthew Finger of DuPont Country Club; Nelson Hargrove of Gulph Mills Golf Club; Jeff Osberg of Huntingdon Valley Country Club; Matthew Teesdale of Commonwealth National Golf Club, the highest remaining seed at No. 2; and 62-year-old Ray Thompson of Overbrook Golf Club. Carr faces Osberg at 7:30 a.m. Blickle takes on Thompson at 7:37 a.m. Teesdale and Hargrove, a pair of long-ball hitters, start at 7:45 a.m. Feld and Finger will be the last quarterfinal pairing at 7:52 a.m.

The semifinals will follow. The 36-hole Amateur final is set for Saturday at 7:30 a.m.

“I basically had nothing to lose. I figured if I win I’m on top of the world. If I lose, I lost to one of the best players in the area,” said Carr, 27, of East Norriton, Pa. “[Playing with him before] definitely helped. I wasn’t intimidated by his length and what not.”

Carr built a 4-up lead thru nine holes with a dazzling short game and putting display that included a miraculous chip-in for birdie on No. 9 (No. 18, par 4, 433 yards). Long with his approach to a back of the green hole location, and with McDermott staring at a 12-foot birdie try, Carr nestled his chip to the top of the mound before watching it rap the flag at high speed and drop into the cup. McDermott charged to even the match thru 15 but unexpectedly missed a short par putt on No. 16 (No. 7, par 4, 306 yards). Carr was 1-up with two holes to play.

The duo halved the 17th (No. 8, par 3, 150 yards) with pars. On No. 18 (No. 9, par 4, 433 yards) Carr’s approached stopped short before his ensuing chip nestled to three feet from the cup. McDermott, too, was short with his second shot, but knocked his chip onto the top tier, 25 feet away, and missed the birdie try.

“He played better than me. He got it going early. He made long putts on Nos. 7 and 8 and then made that miraculous chip-in on No. 9,” said McDermott, 39, of Bryn Mawr, Pa. “He should have won this match. To win [the Amateur] you have to play five good matches.”

McDermott was in search of a third Amateur title. In addition to last year’s win at Aronimink Golf Club, he took the 2008 Amateur at Whitemarsh Valley Country Club.

This is Carr’s first time making match play in three Amateur appearances. He is a 2009 Drexel University graduate.

Osberg, 29, of West Chester, Pa., re-enters the Amateur picture after missing most of 2013 with a back issue that caused leg numbness. He had surgery in October, his second since 2012.

Osberg’s game now appears full strength. He defeated Matt Cocco of Commonwealth National Golf Club, 5&4, in the Round of 16 after a scintillating 1-up victory over Michael Johnson of Commonwealth National in the morning.

“It is never fun to miss this tournament. It’s the best tournament of the year by far,” said Osberg, who was an Amateur semifinalist in 2010. “Last year was very difficult to sit on the sidelines. You always want to be competing. You always want to be here. I was really looking forward to this tournament this year. I just wanted to get into match play and see how far [I] can go.”

In the afternoon, Osberg started strong, was 3-up thru 9, and closed out Cocco on No. 14.

The morning match with Johnson was far more dramatic. He birdied his final two holes to win, 1-up.

Osberg reached No. 17 (par 5, 548 yards) in two shots and two putted for 4 before, on No. 18 (par 4, 416 yards), dropping an 8-iron from 159 yards to five feet for the win.

“I felt lucky to get through this morning. Michael Johnson is a great player. I had every right to lose that match,” said Osberg. “Once I got through that, I felt if I could get something going I would have a chance to play tomorrow morning.”

Thompson, 62, of Drexel Hill, Pa., makes a return appearance to the Amateur quarters for the first time since winning the event in 1972. Thompson, a Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior circuit staple, made a startling comeback on the final nine holes against Round of 16 foe Aaron Fricke of Honeybrook Golf Club to erase a 4-down deficit.

Thompson closed out the 19-year-old from Lancaster, Pa., with a conceded three on No. 10 (19th hole) after Fricke sent his approach long and over the green into the hazard.

“I’ve been playing OK. I have a good attitude. It is what I enjoy,” said Thompson of the competition. “I enjoy these days. I get a club in my hand every day this time of year. It’s a thrill. I don’t know how much longer I can compete with young guys.”

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