VICTORIA, Australia (January 21, 2017) -- There are aces, and then there’s what Matias Sanchez did today at the Australian Amateur Championship, presented by Swinging Skirts.
Sanchez had held sway against Shae Wools-Cobb for the majority of their quarterfinal at Yarra Yarra Golf Club, but the impressive Queenslander was making his move and narrowly missed a birdie try on the 14th that would have cut Sanchez’s lead to one.
But after Wools-Cobb hit the green with his tee shot on the iconic 15th, the young Victorian played arguably the shot of his life – a perfect five-iron for a hole-in-one to effectively seal a semifinal berth.
“It was unbelievable,” Sanchez, 18, said. "The hole before I struggled to get a half, so I knew I had to do something on the 15th. So I pulled out a 5-iron and hit it so good … it was tracking the flag, it took one bounce and went in pretty quickly.
“I got a few cheers and knew it was in. Mum went a bit nuts … so I knew it was in the hole.
“There was almost a moment of silence. I thought `Did that really go in?” … and then the heart rate definitely kicked up – it was an amazing feeling.
“There’s nothing better.”
With his heart still near his mouth on the 16th tee, Sanchez pulled his drive into the rough.
But he regained his composure quickly and a quality approach to the green ensured a par that was good enough for a 3&2 for the Royal Melbourne member.
Sanchez will next face the metronomic medallist Kevin Yuan who has barely put a foot wrong all week and was equally impressive in taking out Welshman Evan Griffith 5&3.
The other semi will pit the world No. 10, Scotsman Robert Macintyre, against red-hot West Australian Min Woo Lee.
Macintyre, runner-up in last year’s British Amateur where he took out three Australians en route to the final, was several shots under-par when his par on the 16th secured a 3&2 win.
“I had a great match with Travis … we traded birdies all the way around … it was great fun,” the affable Scotsman said.
Lee, 18, was sublime at times in taking out fellow West Australian Robbie Morrison 5&3.
The reigning U.S. Boys’ Amateur champ made a birdie bomb on the eighth, followed up with a superb eagle on the ninth to take control of his Royal Perth opponent.
He then made a superb birdie on the 15th to close out his mate and roll on.
The semifinals will be played Saturday afternoon.