Frankie Capan (L) and Shuai Ming (Ben) Wong (R)
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, North Carolina (May 31, 2017) -- The third playing of the U.S. Four-Ball is in the books, and the Frankie Capan and partner Shuai Ming Wong have put their name on the trophy.
At the famed Pinehurst No. 2, Capan and Wong earned the title with a comeback 2-and-1 victory over Kyle Hudleson and Clark Collier. After losing the first two holes to a red hot birdie-eagle start by their opponents, Capan and Wong took the par-4 3rd hole with a birdie. They would fall 2-down again after Hudleson and Collier birdied the 5th.
Capan and Wong worked their way from 2-down to 1-up over the first five holes of the back nine with birdie wins on the 10th, 12th, and 14th. After ties on the par-3 15th and monstrous par-4 16th (which plays as a par-5 for normal play) they birdied the 17th for the victory. That's
It Wong, who was born in Hong Kong, China, but has lived the last three years in The Woodlands, Texas, who delivered the final blow, holing a 10-foot birdie putt on the challenging par-3 of 201 yards.
With the match not going all the way to the last, there would be no fist pump on the 18th green like Payne Stewart, but by all means a 400-plus yard walk up the 18th fairway, with the clubhouse and bronze statue of the departed legend in view. Wong has committed to play for Stewart's alma matter, Southern Methodist University.
“It's pretty unreal. It's still sinking in,” said Wong. “The last putt on 17, Frankie and I had the mentality of us always being 1 down and playing our hardest. Right now it's just kind of sinking in that we won the whole thing. We obviously played our best golf this week, and [I am] just really, really just overwhelmed right now.”
“Those kids, oh my goodness,” said Collier. “Those guys are going to be pros. They are really, really good.”
Capan (who has committed to play for Alabama in 2018) and Wong have qualified for all three championships, and their expectations have risen with their success.
Capan, of North Oaks, Minn. loved the four-ball format.
“This format is just so much fun. To have it end like that, we were just pumped to get back and get another shot at it.”
As for their opponents, who only knew a week ago they were in the field after being called in as alternates?
The two Oklahoma City natives – Collier, 27, who now lives in Dallas, and Hudelson, 29, who resides in Scottsdale, Ariz. were of course disappointed but nobody would argue that they made the most of their opportunity. The duo won a pair of nail-biting matches Tuesday on the par-70, 7,161-yard Course No. 2, including a 1-up quarterfinal decision over 2015 champions and Walker cuppers Nathan Smith and Todd White.
“Those guys are legends,” said Collier of Smith and White, “What a class act. They’re truly an example for the game.”
Added Hudelson: “Nathan Smith, it’s just an honor to play with him. I mean how many [USGA] matches has he played?
“[Before the week started], we said we had already won and had nothing to lose. I mean everything was against us. Beating a great team and us being a dark horse, it was great.”
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball has arrived. And by any measure the team event is a huge success. We had Mid-Am winners the first year, college teammates in year two, and a pair of juniors this year.
The 2018 venue is Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta, Florida where the championship will be played on May 19-23.
Longtime friends Collier and Hudleson won their second of two overtime matches in Wednesday morning’s semifinals against 2016 semifinalists Patrick Christovich and Garrett Rank.
And if that victory for the alternates seemed improbably, get this.
They edged 2015 champions Nathan Smith and Todd White in the quarterfinals on Monday, 1-up. Smith owns a record four U.S. Mid-Amateur titles and both he and White were teammates on the winning 2013 USA Walker Cup Team (National Golf Links of America).
In the other morning semifinal match, Wong, and Capan used an eagle-2 on No. 13 to pull away from Floridians Marc Dull, of Winter Haven, and Chip Brooke, of Bartow, 4 and 2.
View results for U.S. Amateur Four-Ball
ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur Four-Ball
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, the newest USGA
championship, was played for the first time in
2015 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif.
The event, which has no age restriction, is open
to those with a Handicap Index of 5.4 or lower.
It is one of 14 national championships conducted
annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly
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