LAKE FOREST, ILL (August 5, 2016) -- It wasn't easy but Western Amateur medalist winner Sam Horsfield was able to advance through the first two rounds of match play. Horsfield; along with Davis Riley, Dylan Meyer and Will Gordon make up the final four at the Knollwood Club.
Horsfield, a sophomore at Florida, who blitzed the field during four days of stroke play, nearly fell to Joaquin Niemann in the Round of 16 before defeating J.J. Grey in the quarterfinals.
In a 19 hole Round of 16 victory over Niemann neither player held more than a 1 up lead. Horsfield took the first lead of the match on the 3rd hole and held the advantage until Niemann, an incoming South Florida freshman, squared the match on the 7th and then took the lead on the ensuing hole.
Shortly after Horsfield tied the match and then took a lead on the 15th, only to have Niemann tie it again on No. 17. After a pair of halves Horsfield won the match with a birdie on the first extra hole.
Now in the quarterfinals, Horsfield defeated recent Georgia State graduate J.J. Grey 2 up. Horsfield won the opening hole and by the 10th hole held a 4 up lead. Grey would not go down without a fight however as he won Nos. 11, 12 and 13 to get within 1 down and then won the 16th to somehow square the match. Despite squandering his lead Horsfield regained his composure and won the last two holes to close out the match.
“I played OK,” Horsfield told the Western Golf Association. “I had a couple of hot stretches here and there, like the front nine [in the] afternoon. I struggled a little bit on the back nine, but it was good enough to get it done. That’s all that matters in match play.”
In the semifinals Horsfield will face Alabama sophomore Davis Riley.
The day began with a 4&2 win for Riley in the Round of 16 over Illinois junior Nick Hardy. Through four holes the match was all-square but after Riley won the 5th the flood gates opened. Riley won five of the next eight holes to open a 5 up lead and then held on from there.
Now playing John Coultas, a junior at Florida Southern, in the quarterfinals Riley had to rally late for a 1 up win. Trailing by a 2 down tally after 12 holes, Riley won the 13th and 14th holes to square the match. The duo halved the next two holes before Coultas regained the lead on No. 16.
Needing to rally again, Riley won the next two holes to take the match.
“I was down all day, but I tried to stay positive,” Riley said. “Things worked out in the end, I knew I was hitting the ball well and giving myself some good looks.”
The second semifinal will pit Illinois junior Dylan Meyer and Vanderbilt sophomore Will Gordon.
Meyer moved on following a 1 up win against Liberty junior Michael DeMorat in the Round of 16 and a 5&4 victory over Texas junior Doug Ghim.
Against DeMorat, Meyer won a tight tilt with a win on the 17th after the match had been all-square for much of the day. Things were much easier in the quarters as Meyer never lost a hole and closed out the match on the 14th.
Gordon started his day with a 4&3 victory over incoming Florida freshman Andy Zhang. The Vanderbilt product won the first hole and never looked back as he led throughout.
In the quarterfinals Gordon had to dig deep after falling 3 down after six holes to Baylor sophomore Braden Bailey. Gordon began to turn the match with a win on the 7th hole and then another on the 8th to creep within 1 down. The match remained there until Gordon tied the match on the 12th and then took the lead on the 14th. From their Gordon closed the match with a series of halves.
“I really believed I was not going to go home [Friday],” said Gordon. “I felt like I was playing good enough and making enough putts to come back. I just kept fighting.”
Following the morning semifinal matches will be the championship match. The first semifinal between Horsfield and Riley will begin at 8:00 a.m. CDT while Meyer and Gordon will step off at 8:15 a.m.