NARRAGANSETT, RI (June 29, 2016) -- Ryan Pelletier won two matches in the Rhode Island Golf Association Amateur Championship on Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals, then quickly made plans on what he was going to do next. "I'm going to stop by urgent care to get checked out," the former Four-Ball champion said. "I think I’ll be ok."
Playing injured, at times applying an ice pack given to him, Pelletier beat his friend and Four-Ball partner Kyle Hoffman, 3 and 2 at Point Judith to lead the advance.
Pelletier will be joined by an impressive list of quarterfinalists. Others moving are the defending champion Kevin Silva, tourney medalist Eric Marchetti, Junior Champion Davis Chatfield, former Stroke Play winner John Hayes IV, Cameron Andrade, the son of PGA Champions Tour star Billy Andrade, two-time Amateur champ Bobby Leopold and URI player Jason Short.
None of the survivors had quite the same reaction as Pelletier. He was smiling through pain.
"I came out of my shot a little bit on the third hole and I felt it," he said of discomfort in his rib area. "Every rip after that it definitely hurt. I don’t know if it’s a rib muscle, ab muscle or what.’’ He told tournament officials what happened and club officials got him some ice to apply between shots."
The match had been a bit different from the start because Pelletier and Hoffman are close friends, have played many times at Pawtucket but never before in a state-wide event. Pelletieer made adjustments because of the pain he was feeling.
"I was trying to ease up a little bit (on full swings)," he said. "I had to change what clubs I hit." The key, he said, was that his short game remained strong, and might have been even better than usual.
"This was too special to drop out,’’ Pelletier said. "I’ve learned when to be nice and when not to be when we play each other." He and Hoffman were even through eight. Pelletier won 9 and 10 with pars then, when Pelletier won 14 with a birdie he was on his way to the quarters.
He will meet the medalist next. Marchetti had to make a clutch 10-foot putt on the 18th hole to get past Moses Brown’s Eli Epstein-Lubow, 1 up, in the first round. He then turned back his URI teammate Seamus Fennelly in the afternoon, 4 and 3, a contest in which Marchetti went even par for the 15 holes.
While there were several dramatic matches, the wildest might have been Andrade’s 2-and-1 decision over Chris DeLucia in the second round. Those two went back and forth in a contest that saw birdies on six of the last 10 holes, including one, the 12th, where both had birds. Only seven of the 17 holes were halved. Andrade never trailed but found himself even when DeLucia won 14 with a par and 15 with a bird.
When Andrade hit his tee ball on the par-3 16th into the left bunker, he looked as if he was in danger of falling behind for the first time. He had short-sided himself and faced a difficult shot, as he knew. In his morning 3-and-1 decision over Hall of Famer Paul Quigley, he had gone into the same bunker and was unable to keep his blast on the green.
With a gallery that included both his parents, Billy and Jody, and his grandfather, John Andrade, the Wofford College senior gave himself a plan for the bunker shot this time.
"It was a go for broke moment," he said. "If I landed it on the green, it wouldn’t stop." He knew it would roll off the green. So he picked out a spot in the rough where he felt he needed to make the ball land and then hopefully roll enough to get on the green and downhill toward the hole. He hit it to the spot he picked out perfectly. It did not merely roll toward the hole.
"It went in," he said. "It was pretty sweet." When he parred 17 he had a 2-and-1 decision and his second berth in the quarters. He also did it at Wanumetonomy three years ago.
He will face Chatfield, the reigning Junior champion who might have played the best golf of all on Wednesday, especially in the second-round 6-and-5 win over Bryant star McKinley Slade. The 5-foot-6 Chatfield, who recently celebrated his 17th birthday, never made a bogey, never lost a hole and was 4-under for the 13 holes against Slade.
The match between Silva and Hayes will feature a rarity _ two State Champions going against each other. While Silva is the reigning king here, Hayes is the reigning Maine Amateur champion. His family lives in Maine but summers in Newport. His is playing in the Rhode Island Am for the first time because the tournament was moved up earlier than usual. He will play in the Maine event in two weeks.
Hayes had to survive a dramatic match with Four-Ball champion Tyler Cooke. Hayes won each of the first four holes. The next five were halved. Cooke won 10, 11, 12 and 14 to pull even. Hayes took the 17th with a par for the 1-up squeaker.
Silva had his anxious moments in the first round. He was 3-down to Michael Phillipp of Triggs through 12 before Silva won the next four holes in a row to escape, 1 up. He then turned back Metacomet’s Kevin Blaser, 4 and 3, in the afternoon.
The bottom quarter of the draw will pit Leopold against Short. Leopold twice won convincingly, 7-and-6 over Wannamoisett friend Tom Goryl and 6-and-5 in the second round over Hendricken star Joe Tucker. Leopold lost only one hole all day.
Short, who is working at Point Judith this summer, never trailed in his second-round match against Jake Bauer until Bauer, who plays for Johnson & Wales Miami team, won the 17th to go 1 up. Short birdied the par-5 18 to force extra holes and then won the 19th with a par to claim his spot in the quarterfinals.
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