PEBBLE BEACH, CA (August 17, 2016) -- Each of the top four seeds are alive and kicking. But there’s still a long way to go.
No. 1 seed Eddy Lai, No. 2 Shintaro Ban, No. 3 Viraat Badhwar and No. 4 Greg Gildea all got through a busy Wednesday at Spyglass Hill, winning both their Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches.
Lai, a senior at Bellarmine High who’s already committed to UCLA, followed up an opening 4 and 3 win with a 2 and 1 win over No. 17 Matt Hedges.
In Thursday morning’s quarterfinals, Lai will face veteran Jeff Gilchrist. The oldest player in the field at age 44, Gilchrist began his day by knocking out No .8 seed and defending NCGA Player of the Year Nick Moore, 3 and 2. In the afternoon, Gilchrist, who won the championship 21 years ago, cruised to a 5 and 3 win over No. 24 Max Ting.
Ban, the winner of this year’s California Amateur Championship, punched his ticket to the quarterfinals with a 1-up win over No. 18 Scott Munger. He’ll next face No. 23 Ryan Maund, who following a tight 19th hole in the morning ran away with a 5 and 4 win over No.26 Jeremy Villafuerte in the afternoon.
In one of the other quarterfinals, it’ll be Badhwar versus No. 27 Robby Salomon. Badhwar, who’s looking to make it two championship titles in a row for Stanford, showed he could grind, posting a pair of 1-up wins.
In his morning Round of 32 match against No. 30 Perry Cohen of St. Mary’s College, Badhwar was two down through 15 holes. He’d answer the bell by winning the final three holes in succession by going par-birdie-par. In his afternoon match against No. 19 Luke Vivolo, the two see-sawed to be all-square through 13 holes. Badhwar, who played with 2015 champion Maverick McNealy at the 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, finally grabbed a 1-up lead on the 15th when Vivolo made bogey. The two would halve the final four holes.
Salomon, the former CSU-Monterey Bay standout who defended his title earlier this year at the NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship, also had to toil. He’d get by No. 6 Walker Huddy in the morning, 1-up, courtesy of a clutch birdie on the 18th. Later, Salomon dispatched No. 22 seed and 2015 runner-up Matt Cohn, 3 and 2.
Robinson, who plays out of Del Rio CC, advanced with a 2 and 1 quarterfinals win over No. 21 Cole Nygren.