BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (Aug. 5 2007)-- Jared Hack, 2005 Western Junior champion, continued his impressive run in the 2007 Western Amateur on Sunday, upsetting two-time, first-team NCAA All-American Dustin Johnson, to advance to the championship match against 2007 University of Washington graduate Alex Prugh, who edged Stanford senior Rob Grube in an All-PAC 10 showdown.
A six-and-a-half hour weather delay pushed the start of the semifinal matches back to 2 p.m., forcing tournament officials to reschedule the championship match for 8 a.m. Monday at Point O’Woods Golf & C.C. in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Hack, just 17, and a freshman-to-be at the University of Central Florida, played like a veteran, coming from 2 down through 10 holes against Johnson. Hack won four straight holes – the 11th through the 14th – with par, par, birdie, birdie to surge to a 2 up lead. He sealed the win with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par 3, 208-yard 17th, taking the match 2 and 1.
A shorter hitter off the tee, Hack consistently played first from the fairway, sometimes from 50 yards back of Johnson.
“It’s no pressure. I just go out and play my own game,” said Hack, of Sanford, Florida. “Keep it in the fairway and get it up and down when it’s not. Do what I have to do and not press. Tomorrow, I’ll just try to keep doing the same thing.”
Reaching the championship match seemed to come as a surprise even to Hack.
“I had pretty low expectations for myself. I think that’s why I’m this far,” he said. “I hadn’t played well all summer, but I started playing better last week at the U.S. Junior, where I reached the second round of match play.”
For Johnson, a 2007 graduate of Coastal Carolina, the loss put an end to a solid week of golf.
“I’m glad I got to this point, but I’m disappointed, of course, that I didn’t win my match,” said Johnson, 23, of North Myrtle Beach, S.C. “Overall, I played really well. I waited until today to play my worst round. I just didn’t hit the ball that well and put myself in some tough spots.”
After taking a 1-up lead with a birdie on the par 4, 430-yard first hole, Prugh never lost the lead in a closely fought match with Grube. Prugh two-putted from 75 feet for par on the 17th to match Grube’s par and seal a 2 and 1 victory.
“It feels great,” said Prugh, 22, of Spokane, Washington. “This course fits my game and fits my eye right now. All week, I’ve just been playing the course. In match play, I still play the course, try to make some birdies and see what happens.”
Four birdies – two on the front nine and two on the back – proved enough to edge Grube.
“It was a good match. We were both under par,” said Grube, also 22, of Hinsdale, Illinois. “I missed three putts under 10 feet, and that was the difference. I just couldn’t get the putts to fall.”
All four semifinalists praised the Point O’Woods staff for getting the course in playing condition following more than two inches of rain overnight.
“I was impressed with the job the grounds crew did in getting the course in shape,” said Prugh.