JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (August 14, 2014) — Eight remain at Atlanta Athletic Club, and you could say that one quarterfinalist just isn't quite like the others.
36-year-old Nathan Smith of Pittsburgh, Pa. knocked off co-medalist and No. 1 seed Lee McCoy in the first round and then proceeded to hand 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Byron Meth a narrow defeat in a spectacular 21-hole match in Thursday afternoon's round.
Smith is a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, winning most recently in 2012, and out of the remaining eight players at the U.S. Amateur, he is the oldest by 14 years.
His match with Meth in the round of 16 was tight the whole way, with no player ever being up by more than one hole in the match except for the 12th when Smith held a brief two-up advantage. In fact, from hole 12 to 18, the two players did not halve a single hole.
Smith, a member of the three most recent United States Walker Cup teams, will face Pepperdine University junior Frederick Wedel in the quarters. Wedel, a native of The Woodlands, Texas, defeated Jimmy Mullen of England 2-and-1 in the afternoon round after beating Derek Bard of New Hartford, N.Y. in the morning. Wedel was one-down at the turn, but benefited from five Mullen bogeys on the back side.
Soon-to-be freshman at Wake Forest University Cameron Young of Scarborough, N.Y. defeated Kyle Jones of Taylor, Ariz. despite Jones making birdie on four of the final seven holes of the match, which ended in a one-up victory for Young. He will square off against San Diego State University junior Gunn Yang in Friday morning's quarterfinal match.
Yang, a native of South Korea, had a tough matchup in the round of 16 as he drew World Amateur Golf Ranking's No. 1 ranked player Ollie Schniederjans. The match was all-square heading into the par-three 17th before Yang made a birdie two, holding on to his one-up advantage through the concluding hole.
Canada's top-ranked amateur player Corey Conners, who is coming off a tied-for-second place finish at his nation's amateur championship last week, held on to beat Jon Rahm of Spain in his afternoon bout. Conners, who just finished his senior year at Kent State University, will battle Oklahoma State sophomore Zachary Olsen Friday morning. Olsen, last year's Southern Amateur winner, turned 20 in June and had the afternoon's largest margin of victory, handing 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Will Zalatoris a 5-and-3 defeat.
Rounding out the four quarterfinal matchups, Roman Robledo, a senior at the University of Houston, will face University of Virginia senior Denny McCarthy. McCarthy trailed practically the entire match against TCU's Eli Cole. He forced the match back to all-square for the first time since the round began with a birdie on 16 before only needing a par on 18 to edge Cole on the final hole.
Robledo maintained a one-up or two-up lead over Southern Methodist University junior Bryson DeChambeau from the fourth hole on, winning the match with a birdie on the 17th.
Round of 32 Recap: After 32 matches were played Wednesday at Atlanta Athletic Club, 16 round-of-32 matchups were completed Thursday morning, sending a second wave of winners off this afternoon.
64-seed Nathan Smith, who knocked off co-medalist Lee McCoy in the first round, won his morning match 4-and-3 over Brandon McIver of Montana. Now, the four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion gets to face reigning U.S. Amateur Public Links winner Byron Meth of San Diego, Calif. in the round of 16.
Meth handedly defeated Spaniard Emilio Cuartero 6-and-5 on Wednesday before proceeding to beat Trevor Phillips of Inman, S.C. 5-and-4 in the morning match.
Other round-of-16 matchups currently taking place include World Amateur Golf Ranking No. 1 Ollie Schniederjans against Gunn Yang of South Korea, as well as top-ranked Canadian golfer Corey Conners squaring off with Jon Rahm of Spain, who knocked off tournament favorite Beau Hossler in the first round.
Hossler, who has won consecutive Southern California Amateurs, as well as just winning the prestigious Western Amateur last week, lost 3-and-2 to Rahm.
2014 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Will Zalatoris is through the round of 16. He defeated 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Jordan Niebrugge 2-and-1 in the first round. Zalatoris matches up with Zach Olsen of Cordova, Tenn. in Thursday afternoon's match.
The remaining round-of-16 matches are as follows:
Bryson DeChambeau (Clovis, Calif.) vs. Roman Robledo, (Harlingen, Tex.)
Eli Cole (Los Angeles, Calif.) vs. Denny McCarthy (Rockville, Md.)
Jimmy Mullen (England) vs. Frederick Wedel (The Woodlands, Tex.)
Kyle Jones (Taylor, Ariz.) vs. Cameron Young (Scarborough, N.Y.)