Benjamin Baxter and teammate Andrew Buchanan are in the semis
(Photo Courtesy of USGA)
MAMARONECK, NY (May 24, 2016) - Patrick Christovich
and Garrett Rank, a pair of mid-amateurs who are the
lowest remaining seeded team in the match-play
bracket, won two matches in dramatic fashion Tuesday
to advance to the semifinals of the 2016 U.S. Amateur
Four-Ball Championship on the par 70, 6,728-yard East
Course at Winged Foot Golf Club.
Rank, a professional hockey referee, made a 6-foot
birdie putt on the 18th hole to hand his team a 1-up
quarterfinal victory over David Kocher, 20 of Charlotte,
N.C., and Connor Tendall, 23, of North Potomac, Md.
Earlier in the day, Christovich, 37, of New Orleans, La.,
set up a winning birdie in the third round on the 21st
hole, the par-3 third, by striking a 157-yard 9-iron to
“This is why you practice and this is why you play,”
said Rank about the excitement of advancing to the
semifinals. “It makes that long drive to Hershey (to
referee) and back (to this championship) feel good
along with the grind of taking clubs to the airport and
practicing during the winter.”
Connor and Tendall, who are former University of
Maryland teammates, won the opening two holes, but
Christovich made a sweeping long-distance birdie putt
on No. 7 and Rank sank a 24-footer for another birdie to
square the match on No. 10. The teams went back and
forth on the inward nine. Connor and Tendall regained
the lead with a conceded birdie on the par-3 13th before
Rank and Christovich won No. 15 with a par.
“Every time we got one back, next hole they put
one right back on us,” said Christovich, a realtor who
has won three Louisiana Mid-Amateur Championships.
Rank, 28, of Canada and the 2012 U.S. Mid-
Amateur runner-up, kept the match all square on the
par-4 16th when he sank a ticklish 20-foot birdie putt.
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship consists
of 36 holes of stroke play, 18 each on the East and
West Courses of Winged Foot Golf Club, followed by five
rounds of match play on the East Course. Fox Sports 1
(FS1) will televise Wednesday’s semifinals and
championship, scheduled as an 18-hole final, from 3-
5:30 p.m. EDT.
Christovich and Rank will meet Ben Baxter, 20, of
Flower Mound, Texas, and Andrew Buchanan, 21, of Los
Altos, Calif., in the semifinals. In the quarterfinals, the
Southern Methodist University teammates dispatched
the No. 1 seed and stroke-play medalists, Brandon
Matthews, 21, of Dupont, Pa., and Patrick Ross, 24, of
Dunmore, Pa., 2 and 1.
Baxter, a sophomore, made his second match-
clinching putt of the day when he sank a 10-footer for
par on No. 17. He secured a 1-up victory in the previous
round with a big-breaking 50-footer on the 18th hole.
“It’s been pretty cool,” said Baxter, who has
competed in two U.S. Amateurs. “I wouldn’t be there
without my partner. He’s been playing really consistent
and I’ve just been trying to pick him up where I
Buchanan, a senior who earned All-American
Athletic Conference honors last year, struck a 117-yard
50-degree wedge to within 4 feet to set up a birdie and
a 2-up margin on the par-4 10th hole. His team never
trailed in the quarterfinal match as Matthews and Ross
managed to make just one birdie as a team during the
“Coming into it, we were just excited to be here – it
was like a no-lose attitude,” Buchanan said. “Every
match we advance, we’re like, oh, one more free round
at Winged Foot East.”
Otto Black, 22, of Pinckney, Mich., and Colin
Joseph, 19, of Loveland, Ohio, defeated two
experienced opponents on their way to the semifinals.
Black and Joseph edged Scott Harvey, 37, of
Greensboro, N.C., and Todd Mitchell, 37, of
Bloomington, Ill., 2 and 1, in the third round before
registering a 2-up victory over Alex Buecking, 43, of
Columbine Valley, Colo., and Jason Enloe, 42, of Dallas,
Texas, in the quarterfinals.
Buecking and Enloe, who are former SMU
teammates, birdied the par-3 13th to square the match.
But Black and Joseph, members of the University of
Toledo team who are both playing in their first USGA
championship, rebounded over the final three holes.
Black made a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 16th.
Both players were conceded medium-range birdie putts
on the final hole.
“We always kept ourselves in it,” said Black, who
lofted a 9-iron within a foot on No. 16 that put his team
ahead for good in a morning round that began in rainy
conditions. “We just gave ourselves a lot of
opportunities, and at the end coming down the stretch,
that’s what gave us that breakthrough.”
Brandon Cigna, 30, of Arlington, Va., and Ben
Warnquist, 23, of Olney, Md., will face Black and Joseph
in the lower half of the bracket. Cigna and Warnquist
held off Drew Allenspach, 29, of Louisville, Ky., and
Matthew Van Zandt, 30, of Houston, Texas, 1 up, in
their quarterfinal match.
Cigna, a financial advisor, and Warnquist, a sales
representative, built a 3-up margin with a par on No.
15. But the championship bracket’s No. 3 seed rallied
with birdies on holes 16 and 17. Warnquist, who won
the 2015 Maryland State Amateur, sealed the decision
with a short par putt on the final hole.
“You’ve got to expect tough matches,” said
Warnquist, who reached the Round of 16 in the 2010
U.S. Junior Amateur. “You just have to expect to play
18 holes, and that’s kind of what at least I go
In the third round, Warnquist made a 4-foot par
putt on the 18th hole as his team defeated Braden Baer,
22, of Westminster, Colo., and Cole Nygren, 22, of
Longmont, Calif., 1 up.
Allenspach and Van Zandt got past defending
champions Nathan Smith, 37, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and
Todd White, 48, of Spartanburg, S.C., 2 and 1, en route
to the quarterfinals earlier in the day.
“It’s a different golf course, there’s a different field
and we are a year older,” said White, who along with
Smith won the inaugural championship at The Olympic
Club. “There’s no defense, the only thing we are
defending against now is time.”
Semifinal sides, which must remain intact, are
exempt from qualifying for the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-
Ball at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, in the Village of
Rank vs. (9) Benjamin Baxter/Andrew
(15) Otto Black/Colin
Brandon Cigna/Ben Warnquist
View results for U.S. Amateur Four-Ball