SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Aug. 24, 2007)-- Colt Knost of Dallas moved a step closer to putting his name on another USGA trophy when he advanced through Friday’s quarterfinals at the U.S. Amateur, being played at The Olympic Club’s par-70, 6,948-yard Lake Course.
Also advancing were Casey Clendenon, 23, of Beaumont, Texas; Michael Thompson, 22, of Tucson, Ariz.; and Jhonattan Vegas, 23, of Venezuela.
Knost never trailed in his quarterfinal match against Canadian Nick Taylor, 19, the 2007 Canadian Amateur champion. Knost won three consecutive holes, starting with a par 4 at the 498-yard fifth, to take control en route to a 5 & 4 victory.
For the 22-year-old Knost, consistency has been the key.
"I've just been keeping it in the fairway," said Knost, who is trying to match the feat of Ryan Moore, who won the Amateur and Amateur Public Links in 2004. "If you keep it in the fairway you really don't have that long of irons into these greens. The hard part is getting it in the fairway though. But once you do, you can attack, the greens are perfect. And my iron game has been pretty solid this week."
Knost will next face Vegas, the 2006 Venezuelan Amateur champion who advanced with a 3 & 1 victory over Cheng Tseng Pan of Chinese Taipei. Vegas, who is trying to become the first Venezuelan USGA champion, built a 3-up lead after six holes and held on to oust the 15-year-old Pan.
"I think that the deal with this golf course is the first five holes, they're extremely hard," said Vegas, who is playing in his first U.S. Amateur. "I've been really putting a lot of effort into getting into a really good start. If I can par every single one, [holes] one through five, I think I'm going to be in good shape. And I have been putting in a lot of effort to play really smart on those holes."
Michael Thompson also never trailed against Derek Fathauer, 21, of Jensen Beach, Fla., and won four holes in a five-hole stretch to take control of the match. The highlight came at the par-4, 280-yard seventh hole, where Thompson drove the ball to within 2 feet of the hole, which was conceded for eagle.
Despite moving closer to claiming the U.S. Amateur Championship, Thompson said he wasn’t focusing on the trophy.
"Every once in awhile I'll think about it, but then I'll say, ‘Get that out,’" said Thompson. "Just stop thinking about that. Just enjoy your time now. So I'm trying to stay as much in the present as I can. This is all a learning experience for me, so I'm enjoying every minute of it and I hope I can go all the way."
Thompson’s semi-final opponent will be Clendenon, who advanced with a 4 & 3 win over Eddie Olson, 20, of Aptos, Calif.
Olson twice held a 1-up advantage but Clendenon came back to square the match with a birdie on the seventh and took the lead for good with a birdie on the ninth.
Clendenon earned one of the last spots in match play Wednesday, surviving a 17-for-6 playoff to advance.
"It was a grind, the playoff," said Clendenon. "Once I got through that, I just told myself anything can happen in match play, so just kind of just stay patient and here we are."
After Saturday’s semifinals, the 2007 U.S. Amateur concludes with Sunday’s 36-hole championship final.
The semifinal winners earn berths into the 2008 U.S. Open and likely invitations to play in the 2008 Masters Tournament.
--Story by Beth Murrison, USGA
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
which has no age restriction, is open to
with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is
of 13 national championships conducted
annually by the USGA, 10 of which are
for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent
competition in the world.
Applications are typically placed online, starting
third week in April at www.usga.org.
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