OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. — Medalist Brett Coletta had his U.S. Amateur hopes snatched from him early in match play, as University of Michigan sophomore Kyle Mueller upset the No. 1 seed with a narrow 1-up victory on Wednesday at Olympia Fields Country Club.
Coletta was out early on the North Course on Tuesday morning, posting four-under par 66 to add to his 67 from day one and take medalist honors by one over University of Colorado graduate David Oraee.
But on Wednesday, it was Mueller, who needed four extra holes to secure his match play spot, used the momentum from his early-morning qualification to take down the tournament's top dog. Mueller, of Watkinsville, Ga., got off to a great start, winning three of the first five holes to go 2-up. The two halved holes 6 through 10 before Mueller went 3-up with a par on 11. Coletta, of Australia, fought back beginning with a par on 15 to cut his deficit to two, and another par on 17 while Mueller was dormie-two. But Mueller moved on to the round of 32 with matching pars on 18, sending him to Thrusday's second round to face Alex Burge of Illinois.
RELATED: Coletta medals as morning playoff completes match play bracket
Mueller, who is playing in his first USGA championship, is in his freshman year in Ann Arbor and finished as a second-team All-Big Ten selection. His year has been marked with solid performances, including tying for second at the NCAA West Regional, placing sixth at the Porter Cup, and advancing through U.S. Open Local Qualifying.
“I really didn't have too many expectations,” Mueller told the USGA. “I wanted to make match play. I feel like I'm a pretty good match player. I love it. Really anything can happen, and it's kind of cliche but you really do have to take it one shot at a time and one hole at a time. That's what I tried to feed off of, and it seemed to work.”
It's worth noting that Mueller, playing in this year's Big Ten Match Play Championship, went 4-0 for his Wolverines.
More to come.