US Amateur Thursday Notebook

TULSA, Oklahoma (August 27, 2009) -- It's down to eight players at the US Amateur at Southern Hills. Highlights of Thursday's action follow:

Charlie Holland, 23, of Dallas, Texas, won two matches and advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Championship for the second consecutive year Thursday at the par-70, 7,093-yard Southern Hills Country Club.

Holland started his day with a 2-and-1 second-round win over stroke-play medalist Tim Jackson, 50, of Germantown, Tenn. In the afternoon’s third round, he defeated Christopher Ross, 22, of Canada, 2 and 1.

In Wednesday’s first round, he had dispatched USA Walker Cup team member and Oklahoma State All-American Morgan Hoffmann.

“My confidence is up there,” said Holland, a senior at the University of Texas. “In the match with Morgan (Hoffman), we both struggled. Tim (Jackson) was tough. He’s a veteran. He’s a grinder. Both of the wins were big.”

Holland received a phone call from a familiar source after his first-round win. It was from PGA Tour player Colt Knost, who won the 2007 U.S. Amateur and flew from Dallas to Tulsa on Thursday morning to support Holland.

“He’s a good friend; I’ve known him since I was 15,” Holland said. “He told me that Tim Jackson would wear out the fairways and wear out the greens but that I should keep grinding and stay positive.”

Holland, who plays Oklahoma State sophomore Peter Uihlein, 19, of Orlando, Fla., in the quarterfinals, will rely on his experience in last year’s championship.

“I won’t think about it like I did last year,” said Holland, who won the 2007 Texas State Amateur. “There were times last year when I almost couldn’t take the club back because I was thinking too much about the tournaments I might be in.”

The finalists of the U.S. Amateur are exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Open Championship the following year. The only remaining USA Walker Cup team member, Bud Cauley, 19, of Jacksonville, Fla., lost a 2-and-1 second-round decision to David Lingmerth, 22, of Sweden, who plays golf at the University of Arkansas. Lingmerth advanced to the quarterfinals with a 4-and-2 defeat of Cameron Tringale, 21, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., in the third round.

The other quarterfinalists are: two Clemson University seniors, Ben Martin, 21, of Greenwood, S.C., and Phillip Mollica, 22, of Anderson, S.C., Fresno State University sophomore Bhavik Patel, 18, of Bakersfield, Calif., Byeong-Hun ’Ben’ An, 17, of Korea, and Steve Ziegler, 20, of Broomfield, Colo.

Match play continues Friday with the quarterfinals and ends with Sunday’s scheduled 36-hole championship final.

As quarterfinalists, winners of this afternoon’s third-round matches are traditionally exempt from qualifying for the 2010 U.S. Amateur.

Chase for the Walker Cup

The dominant storyline this week has been the chase for the final two spots on the U.S. Walker Cup team. Several contenders played well Thursday.

Dan Woltman beat Auburn’s Glenn Northcutt in round two, 7 and 5. It was the largest winning margin thus far in match play. But Woltman fell to Steve Ziegler of Broomfield, CO on the 22nd hole of the third round.

Cameron Tringale of Laguna Niguel, CA and Mark Anderson of Beaufort, SC are other Walker Cup hopefuls who won two matches before being eliminated in round three.

Perhaps the strongest Walker Cup contender of the eight remaining players is Peter Uihlein, 19, of Orlando, Fla. Calling on a cool demeanor and a clutch putter, Uihlein eliminated Connor Arendell, of Cape Coral, Fla., 2 and 1 in the third round. Earlier in the day, Uihlein defeated Connor Driscoll of Encinitas, Calif., by the same margin.

Uihlein’s bright day under overcast skies set up a quarterfinal match against Charlie Holland of Dallas, Texas, who before he defeated Christopher Ross of Canada, 2 and 1, eliminated medalist Tim Jackson, 1 up. Jackson, 50, of Germantown, Tenn., had been the oldest medalist in championship history.

Uihlein, who later in the spring finished runner-up in the NCAA Division I Regional Tournament, played like a wily old veteran in his match with Arendell, taking advantage of his opponent’s early mistakes and managing his game well when his lead was threatened. “I didn’t do that much, really,” Uihlein said. “I just played steady."

At Southern Hills, playing steady means plenty. Uihlein, with two pars and a bogey, earned a 3-up lead after three as Arendell fought his driver. A short birdie at the 10th restored that advantage after he mucked the ninth.

Arendell wouldn’t fold, however. A 7-iron set up a 3-foot birdie at the short 11th, and he won the 12th with a conceded birdie after Uihlein missed a 12-foot par attempt. “I started really slow, but I was coming around and was feeling better about my chances,” Arendell said. “I just didn’t hit it good enough, and he made a couple of solid plays down the stretch.”

The first of those came at the 13th, when Uihlein hooked his approach on the par-5 left of the green and under a tree. He managed to scrape it onto the back edge and then drained the downhiller from 15 feet to go 2 up.

He missed the green at the next and lost with a bogey, but saved par from a fairway bunker at the 15th. At 16, after a wayward drive and a chip out to the front of the green, Uihlein played a gorgeous pitch and run to about 4 feet. When he drained the left-to-right breaker to halve the hole, he celebrated with a Tiger Woods-like fist pump.

“That was a huge putt,” said Uihlein, whose summer has included fourth at the Porter Cup and sixth at the Southern Am. “My short game really was the key to both matches. I think psychologically it was really a boost for me and it probably was a little frustrating for him because he was starting to make a run and play some good golf.”

The match ended with Uihlein not even having to putt. Arendell bladed his second shot from 65 yards over the green, and he couldn’t get his third to stay on the putting surface either. With Uihlein just 8 feet away in two, Arendell conceded the hole and the match.

Uihlein not only was stoked about reaching the quarterfinals, but he was pleased to be “back in the mix,” for perhaps making the USA Walker Cup team. “It’s in the back of my mind,” he admitted.

Get Rowdy!
Sean Martin of Golfweek Magazine wrote about the Friday Uihlein vs. Holland match:

Malcolm Holland is going to do his best to quiet the Oklahoma State faithful when his son, Charlie, takes on Peter Uihlein in Friday’s quarterfinal match.

He told a family friend to grab as much burnt orange as possible before making the drive to Tulsa tonight. There will be about 15 friends and family decked out in Longhorns colors as Charlie Holland plays in the quarters for the second consecutive year. He lost to Adam Mitchell in the Elite 8 at Pinehurst.

“It’s going to be ugly out there,” Malcolm Holland, a former president of the Texas State Golf Association, said with a laugh about the sea of orange that follows Uihlein when he plays at Southern Hills.

While a golf gallery is much more civil than a Big 12 football crowd, Holland wants his son to see as much support as possible.

Charlie Holland already took down one Cowboy this week, beating Morgan Hoffmann in the first round. Holland also took out medalist Tim Jackson in the second round.

Dave Shedloski of the USGA, Sean Martin of Golfweek, and Ron Balicki of Golfweek contributed to this report.

Results For U.S. Amateur Golf Championship
WinFLByeong-Hun AnBradenton, FL2000
Runner-upSCBen MartinGreenwood, SC1500
SemifinalsTXCharlie HollandDallas, TX1000
SemifinalsCABhavik PatelBakersfield, CA1000
QuarterfinalsFLPeter UihleinOrlando, 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.

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