U.S. Amateur: Fathauer Ousts Medalist
22 Aug 2007
see also: U.S. Amateur Golf Championship, Pebble Beach Golf Links


click above for a video featuring on-course action and player interviews
San Francisco – On perhaps the most physically demanding day of the U.S. Amateur, Derek Fathauer got time off for good form.

A senior at the University of Louisville, Fathauer, 22, stormed into the quarterfinals of the 107th Amateur Championship Thursday afternoon at Olympic Club with a combination of opportunism and optimum play to eliminate Jason Kokrak of Warren, Ohio, 6 & 4. Kokrak, 22, a senior at Xavier University in Cincinnati and a frequent college opponent of Fathauer’s, was the medalist in the 36-hole qualifier.

Earlier Thursday, Fathauer posted a 7 & 5 win over Chris Kirk, the 2007 recipient of the Hogan Award for college player of the year.

Not a bad day. And he needed just 27 holes to do it.

"I’m playing pretty solid, but this morning I was pretty much given a lot of holes," Fathauer said, grinning sheepishly. "This afternoon just about the same thing."

He did contribute some of his own skills to the routs, however.

"I didn’t make a lot of mistakes – hit the fairways, hit the greens and made some putts," he said after prodding.

"I played poorly. I didn’t hit many good shots. I didn’t play nearly as well as I did in the morning," said Kokrak, who had shot 137 to secure the No. 1 seed. "Derek is an awesome player. I have played against him and his brother (Daryl) a lot over the last few years, so it was a match I was looking forward to. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my A-game, and Derek took advantage."

Fathauer, a semi-finalist at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, seized the early lead with birdies on two of the first three holes, scoring on a tap-in at the first and a 12-footer at the long par-3 third hole set up by a 5-iron from 255 yards. Kokrak contributed to his own demise by throwing in a double-bogey at the fourth and bogey at No. 6 to move 4 down.

He had chances to cut into the deficit but left three straight birdie putts short at holes 9-11. In that mix Fathauer added yet another birdie, sinking an 18-footer to go five ahead.

"The greens were a lot faster this morning. I thought they might speed up with the sun and wind drying them out, but that didn’t seem to happen," said Kokrak, the defending Ohio Amateur champ. "Maybe I was a little bit tentative, too. Either way, I just didn’t take advantage when I did give myself something to work with."

Fathauer’s only real miscue came at the par-4 12th when he bogeyed after flaring his drive well to the right, behind a group of trees. His momentum seemed to further erode when he hooked his 6-iron tee shot at the par-3 13th into heavy greenside rough. Kokrak also missed the green, but was just off the putting surface facing a simpler chip shot.

The lie for Fathauer was poor but the lob was perfect. His chip caught the right edge of the hole and tumbled in for birdie to allow him to go dormie – 5 up with five to play.

"I just kind of hit at it and tried to pop it up and get it on the green … and it went in," he said.

The match ended when Kokrak sailed his approach long at the uphill 14th and then couldn’t get up and down. He conceded Fathauer’s short par putt for the final margin.

Fathauer said his experience at the APL, where he squandered a 2-up lead with four holes to play, has been valuable thus far.

"I think it helped a lot," he said. "Just, you stay patient and hang in there. I had a lot of long days at the Public Links, so this today seemed pretty short.

"I’m trusting what I’m doing," he added.

And he’s moving on, about as well rested as anyone left in the field. But he’s not looking ahead to his next match against Michael Thompson of Tucson, Ariz.

"I learned that you can’t (look ahead)," he said. "I learned the hard way."

***amateurgolf.com reporter notebook***

Eddie Olson defeated Sihwan Kim in 19 holes, avenging a loss earlier in the year at the California State Amateur... Canadian Nick Taylor, who defeated Jamie Lovemark 3 & 2, grew up playing hockey (obviously) where he handled the stick lefty, but golfs righty... Olson is from Aptos, about an hour and a half from San Francisco, and had to request extra guest tickets to handle his cheering section.

For a look at some of the other winners, click on the video to the right.

--Story by Dave Shedloski, for the USGA

Results For U.S. Amateur Golf Championship
WinTXColt KnostDallas, TX2000
Runner-upAZMichael ThompsonTucson, AZ1500
SemifinalsTXCasey ClendenonKaty, TX1000
SemifinalsTXJhonattan VegasAustin, TX1000
QuarterfinalsFLDerek FathauerJensen Beach, FL700

View full results for U.S. Amateur Golf Championship

ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur

The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA championship, was first played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent amateur competition in the world. Applications are typically placed online, starting the third week in April at www.usga.org.

View Complete Tournament Information

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