ARDMORE, PA (August 26, 2005) -- Austin Eaton, the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion from North Sutton, N.H., won three of his last four holes Friday to defeat USA Walker Cupper Anthony Kim, 20, of La Quinta, Calif., 4 and 2, to advance to the semifinal round of match play at the 2005 U.S. Amateur at Merion Golf Club.
In the other quarterfinal matches Edoardo Molinari, 24, an engineering student from Turino, Italy, defeated Dawie Van Der Walt, 22, of South Africa, 6 and 4; Dillon Dougherty, 22, of Woodland, Calif., won 4 and 2 over Ryan Yip, 20, of Canada; and J.C. Deacon, 22, of Canada, defeated Mark Leon, 23, of Canada, 2 and 1.
Dougherty faces Deacon in Saturday’s first semifinal at 9 a.m. (EDT). Eaton, 36 and the oldest remaining player, meets Molinari at 9:15.
"My experience helped me quite a bit," said Eaton, a homebuilder who shares the business with his father. "I felt very comfortable. I knew if I stayed within myself and made good swings I’d be fine. I’ve been there before. I have a USGA championship so I am not going to press to get another one."
Eaton took the lead for good with a winning par on the 11th. He won No.13 with a birdie and then won 15 and 16 with pars when Kim could not get up and down.
Dougherty, who plays college golf at Northwestern, held a 2-up lead through nine holes. Yip cut the edge to 1 up on Nos. 10 and 12. However, Dougherty won 13 with a birdie and 15 with a par before closing the match with a winning birdie on the 16th.
A former player at UNLV, Deacon has the most U.S. Amateur experience of the four semifinalists and is playing in his third Amateur. He never trailed in his win over close friend Leon, a former Penn State player. Deacon was 3 up through nine holes before Leon cut the lead to 1 up after 12 holes.
Deacon, who is seeking to become the first Canadian to win the Amateur since Gary Cowan in 1971, then won the 14th with a 33-foot birdie. The players halved holes 15, 16 and 17 for a Deacon victory.
"He made that bomb on 14 and then he had the momentum," Leon said of Deacon’s match-turning putt. "He made ups and downs. He was so clutch all week."
Molinari, who will graduate with a degree from Politecnico di Torino next month, never trailed and took his first lead with a birdie on the par-3 3rd. He was 2 up after nine holes and then made a birdie on 10 to go 3 up. Molinari, who made the cut at the 2005 British Open, then won the last three holes, two with birdies to finish the match.
The championship concludes with the 36-hole final scheduled for Sunday on NBC, with the winner earning exemptions into next year’s U.S. Open, British Open and Masters Tournament, if he remains an amateur.
Ardmore, Pa. – Results from Friday’s quarterfinal round of match play at the U.S. Amateur at the par 35-35—70, 6,846-yard Merion Golf Club:
Dillon Dougherty, Woodland, Calif. (143) def. Ryan Yip, Canada (146) 4 and 2
J.C. Deacon, Canada (146) def. Mark Leon, Canada (144), 2 and 1
Edoardo Molinari, Italy (146) def. Dawie van der Walt, South Africa (143), 6 and 4
Austin Eaton III, North Sutton, N.H. (141) def. Anthony Kim, LaQuinta, Calif. (146), 4 and 2
Pairings for Saturday’s semifinal round of match play (all times Eastern Daylight Time):
9 a.m. – Dillon Dougherty, Woodland, Calif. (143) vs. J.C. Deacon, Canada (146)
9:15 a.m. -- Edoardo Molinari, Italy (146) vs. Austin Eaton, North Sutton, N.H. (141)
Story written by Pete Kowalski, USGA