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Chinn and USGA champions advance in U.S. Junior bracket
Cole Hammer (USGA photo)
Cole Hammer (USGA photo)

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (July 18, 2018) – Medalist Kelly Chinn advanced through the first round of match play at the U.S. Junior and continues to roll in his USGA Championship debut. Chinn, who went 8 under in stroke-play qualifying, only had three birdies on Wednesday, but it was enough to top Trent Geritz, 2 and 1.

The day began with a playoff to decide the final three spots on the match-play bracket. Geritz, of Towson, Md., was among those to get in, even if it was short-lived.

“I'm playing well, have a lot of confidence,” Chinn told the USGA. “I’m going to have to hit a lot better shots. I'm just going to sharpen my game and keep moving forward.”

There are three USGA champions in this field, and all three remain alive after the first round of match play. Their opponents made them work for it, however.

Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong, who combined with Frankie Capan to win the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, was all square in his match against Jake Beber-Frankel on the 17th tee. He won the final two holes to advance.

Cole Hammer, who was part of the winning U.S. Amateur Four-Ball team in 2018, had a similar story. Hammer birdied the 18th to win his match against Jackson Suber.

Hammer’s Four-Ball partner, Garrett Barber, put together his 1-up victory much differently. Barber got to 2-up on Jack Rahon when he birdied Nos. 10 and 11. Rahon took one back with a birdie at No. 14, but otherwise the two matched pars until Rahon ran out of holes.

The day’s largest victories were authored by Akshay Bhatia, the Sage Valley Junior Invitational champion, and William Mouw, the 2017 Western Junior champion. Both players won their match on the 13th hole.

"This week is going to be a huge grind, especially on this tough of a golf course," Bhatia said. "Just kind of realizing that pars will really win a lot of holes. If you sneak a couple birdies in, that's also a bonus.”

ABOUT THE U.S. Junior Amateur

While it is not the oldest competition, the U.S. Junior Amateur is considered the premier junior competition, having been around since 1948. The event is open to male golfers who have not reached their 19th birthday prior to the close of competition and whose USGA Handicap Index does not exceed 6.4. The U.S. Junior is one of 13 national championship conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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