Ardmore, Pa. – Medalist James Lepp, 21, of Canada, made winning birdies
on the last two holes to overtake Kyle Reifers, 21, of Columbus, Ohio, to become
one of the 32 golfers who won first round matches Wednesday at the U.S. Amateur
at Merion Golf Club.
The current Division I NCAA champion, Lepp came back from two holes down to defeat
USA Walker Cup team member Reifers by hitting a wedge to 3 feet on the first extra
hole and sinking the birdie. But while Reifers wasn’t successful, five of
his Walker Cup teammates were able to advance to Thursday’s second round
of matches. They were Brian Harman, 18, of Savannah, Ga.; Billy Hurley, 23, of
Leesburg, Va.; Nicholas Thompson, 22, of Coral Springs, Fla.; Matt Every, 21,
of Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Anthony Kim, 20, of LaQuinta, Calif.
"When I hit the wedge in, I thought, ‘Oh, it looks good,’"
said Lepp, who is a senior at the University of Washington. "It felt good.
It just spun down the hill perfectly. I didn’t feel real great with the
putter today, so it was nice to have that close right-edge putt.
"I felt like I had the momentum and I was going to win this match."
In addition, three members of the Great Britain and Ireland were winners, including
16-year-old Oliver Fisher of England, who defeated USA Walker Cupper Lee Williams,
5 and 3. His teammates who are still alive are Rhys Davies, 20, of Scotland,
and 44-year-old Gary Wolstenholme of England.
Three U.S. Mid-Amateur champions also advanced. They were Austin Eaton, 36,
of North Sutton, N.H. (2004); Nathan Smith, 27, of Brookville, Pa. (2003); and
George Zahringer, 52, of New York, N.Y. (2002), the oldest player left in the
field. In a match of contrasts, Zahringer will face Fisher at 8:30 a.m. (EDT)
in the second round.
"I don’t know how I fit in," said Eaton, who is in the house
construction business with his father. "This is uncharted territory for
me. Normally, I’m used to playing against guys with jobs."
Fisher wasn’t the youngest to advance, however. Arnond Vongvanij of Bradenton,
Fla., who is three months younger, took that honor after he survived in his
match against Tyler Hitchcock, 18, of Clermont, Fla., despite making bogey on
the first extra hole. In all, there five matches went extra holes.
Play continues Thursday with the second and third round matches at the 6,846-yard
championship course and runs through Sunday. The winner earns spots in the next
U.S. Open, British Open and Masters Tournament.
The Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United
States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. The Amateur
is the Association’s oldest championship, first played in 1895.
Story written by Craig Smith, Director of Media Relations for the USGA. E-mail
him with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Results of Wednesday’s first round of match play at the
U.S. Amateur at the par 35-35—70, 6,846-yard Merion Golf Club:
James Lepp (135), Canada, def. Kyle Reifers (146), Columbus, Ohio, 19 holes.
Dane Burkhart (144), Aiken, S.C., def. John Holmes (144), Campbellsville, Ky.,
Dillon Dougherty (143), Woodland, Calif., def. Alex Knoll (146), Bethlehem,
Pa., 5 and 3.
Gary Wolstenholme (143), England, def. Shawn Jasper (146), Marthasville, Mo.,
Ryan Yip (146), Canada, def. Keven Fortin Simard (141), Canada, 1 up.
Brett Stegmaier (145), Hamden, Conn., def. Brian Carroll (144), Crystal Lake,
Ill., 6 and 5.
Brian Harman (146), Savannah, Ga., def. Ben Kishigian (142), Warner Robins,
Ga., 22 holes.
David Denham (144), Tifton, Ga., def. Matt Savage (145), Scottsdale, Ariz.,
2 and 1.
Billy Hurley (146), Leesburg, Va., def. Charlie Beljan (140), Mesa, Ariz., 5
Mark Leon (144), Canada, def. Robert Riesen (145), Pinehurst, N.C., 3 and 2.
Kevin Chappell (146), Fresno, Calif., def. Sihwan Kim (143), Fullerton, Calif.,
David Lutterus (143), Australia, def. Eddie Olson (145), Aptos, Calif., 3 and
Oliver Fisher (146), England, def. Lee Williams (141), Alexander City, Ala.,
5 and 3.
George Zahringer (145), New York, N.Y., def. Chandler Cocco (144), Bend, Ore.,
J.C. Deacon (146), Canada, def. Andrew Parr (142), Canada, 2 and 1.
Nathan Smith (143), Brookville, Pa., def. Ron Harvey Jr. (145), Canada, 2 and
Korey Mahoney (139), East Lansing, Mich., def. Carter Henderson (146), Nashville,
Tenn., 5 and 4.
Brad Tilley (144), Chappaqua, N.Y., def. Jon-Michael Socaris (144), Voorheesville,
N.Y., 19 holes.
Dawie Van Der Walt (143), South Africa, def. Nate Lashley (146), Scottsbluff,
Neb., 1 up.
Nicholas Thompson (143), Coral Springs, Fla., def. Dustin Pimm (145), Sandy,
Utah, 4 and 3.
Matthew Swan (146), Montgomery, Ala., def. Joseph Sykora (141), Daphne, Ala.,
Michael Sim (145), Australia, def. Mark Strickland (144), Woodstock, Ga., 2
Edoardo Molinari (146), Italy, def. Emilio Dominguez (142), Argentina, 20 holes.
Matthew Every (145), Daytona Beach, Fla., def. George Bryan (143), Columbia,
S.C., 4 and 3.
Jay Choi (140), Korea, def. Morgan Hoffmann (146), Wyckoff, N.J., 1 up.
Ryan Blaum (144), Coral Gables, Fla., def. Tanner Ervin (144), Charleston, S.C.,
Anthony Kim (146), LaQuinta, Calif., def. Jeremy Frye (143), Palestine, Texas,
4 and 3.
Webb Simpson (143), Raleigh, N.C., def. Jordan Payne (145), West Memphis, Ark.,
5 and 3.
Austin Eaton III (141), North Sutton, N.H., def. Pablo Martin (146), Spain,
2 and 1.
Seung-Su Han (144), Las Vegas, Nev., def. Mitch Boles (145), Marlow, Okla.,
4 and 2.
Arnond Vongvanij (146), Bradenton, Fla., def. Tyler Hitchcock (142), Orlando,
Fla., 19 holes.
Rhys Davies (145), Wales, def. Todd Mitchell (143), Bloomington, Ill., 4 and
- for Thursday’s second round of match play at the U.S. Amateur
at the par 35-35—70, 6,846-yard Merion Golf Club:
7:30 a.m. – James Lepp (135), Canada, vs. Dane Burkhart (144), Aiken,
7:40 a.m. – Dillon Dougherty (143), Woodland, Calif. vs. Gary Wolstenholme
7:50 a.m. – Ryan Yip (146), Canada vs. Brett Stegmaier (145), Hamden,
8:00 a.m. – Brian Harman (146), Savannah, Ga., vs. David Denham (144),
8:10 a.m. – Billy Hurley (146), Leesburg, Va., vs. Mark Leon (144), Canada
8:20 a.m. – Kevin Chappell (146), Fresno, Calif., vs. David Lutterus (143),
8:30 a.m. – Oliver Fisher (146), England, vs. George Zahringer (145),
New York, N.Y
8:40 a.m. – J.C. Deacon (146), Canada, vs. Rhys Davies (145), Wales
8:50 a.m. – Korey Mahoney (139), East Lansing, Mich., vs. Brad Tilley
(144), Chappaqua, N.Y
9:00 a.m. – Dawie Van Der Walt (143), South Africa vs. Nicholas Thompson
(143), Coral Springs, Fla.
9:10 a.m. – Matthew Swan (146), Montgomery, Ala., vs. Michael Sim (145),
9:20 a.m. – Edoardo Molinari (146), Italy, vs. Matthew Every (145), Daytona
9:30 a.m. – Jay Choi (140), Korea, vs. Ryan Blaum (144), Coral Gables,
9:40 a.m. – Anthony Kim (146), LaQuinta, Calif., vs. Webb Simpson (143),
9:50 a.m. – Austin Eaton III (141), North Sutton, N.H., vs. Seung-Su Han
(144), Las Vegas, Nev.
10:00 a.m. – Arnond Vongvanij (146), Bradenton, Fla., vs. Rhys Davies