Doc Redman, the 2017 U.S. Amateur champion
PACIFIC PALISADES, CA (August 20, 2017) - Doc Redman
(Raleigh, NC) went eagle-birdie-birdie on the last three holes to take the 117th U.S. Amateur Championship from Doug Ghim
(Arlington Heights, IL) in a thrilling 37-hole final match at Riviera Country Club.
Related: U.S. Amateur: Ghim and Redman are the Last Two Standing
Two down with two holes to go in the match, and with Ghim in close for birdie on the 17th green, Redman made a bomb for eagle from the back of the green to continue the match. He followed it up with a 167-yard approach to seven feet on the 36th hole and a birdie to take the match to extra holes. Then, after a perfect drive and pitch on the 37th hole (the famed driveable par-four 10th), his birdie and the match was conceded after Ghim had tree and bunker trouble.
Ghim must have thought he hit the winning shot at the par-five 17th, ripping a fairway wood right at the stick from 283 yards. But the ball bounced long, and his pitch stopped seven feet above the hole. With Redman over 40 feet away and facing a slick downhiller, the odds were that Ghim would have his putt to win the match. But Redman's putt slammed in, and the epic comeback was on.
The quality of play in the morning round was astounding given the venue and the magnitude of the occasion. After some first-hole jitters that saw Ghim win with a bogey, neither player would lose a shot the rest of the round. In fact, Ghim entered the back nine with a 1 up lead, shot three under par coming in, and left the 18th green trailing
by one, as Redman put six threes on the scorecard in shooting a five-under 31.
Highlights of the Morning 18
The round was filled with clutch shots or putts to halve a hole after being put under pressure.
After Redman pitched to within inches of the hole on the 10th for a tap-in birdie, Ghim responded by making a curling six footer for the halve.
Redman hit a five iron from the left rough at the 15th to within a couple of feet, but Ghim followed with a six-iron and a slick downhill 15-footer for a matching birdie.
On the par-three 16th, Ghim was in the hole for par when Redman short-sided pitch raced 25 feet past the hole. Redman buried the putt to keep his lead.
This 7-iron on the 18th was the capper to a
nearly flawless morning round (USGA photo)
Finally, on the 18th with Ghim close to the hole, Redman hit a cut 7-iron that finished right next to Ghim's ball, and both players rolled in their left-to-right sliders for matching birdies.
The equivalent medal play scores for the morning round would have been Redman with a four-under 66 and Ghim with a three-under 67.
To say the Redman's putter was hot would be an understatement--Redman one-putted every hole on the back nine of the morning round and at one point had a streak of 12 straight one putt greens.
Redman's streak finally ended on the long par-three 22nd and Ghim was able to pull within one with a par.
Ghim had a chance to square the match at the 26th when he drove it just over the back of the green, and watched Redman hook his drive into the trees and catch a tree with his pitchout. But Redman hit his third to fifteen feet and buried his par putt while Ghim left his seven-foot birdie putt on the lip.
After being down for 16 straight holes, Ghim finally squared the match on the par-five 29th hole with a five-foot birdie putt. At that point, Redman had only bogeyed one hole in the last 27, but would go on to make two bogeys in the next four holes, giving Ghim a 2 up lead with two holes to go.
But as soon as the margin for error went down to zero, Redman never missed another shot.
The Winning Moment
For Ghim it was painfully similar to his last appearance in a USGA championship final, in the 2014 U.S. Public Links against Byron Meth
. In that match, the quality of play was also excellent, Ghim was down for a long stretch in the match, had the lead on the 36th tee, and lost both the 36th and 37th holes.
For Redman, it was a continuation of a hot streak in match play that started at the Western Amateur earlier this month. There he made the Final 16 and won three of four matches (his only loss was in the final and it took Norman Xiong 22 holes to beat him) and now six straight this week at Riviera.
"It's about never giving up and believing in myself," Redman told Fox Sports after the match. "You never know what can happen."
"It's awesome," said Redman when asked to describe what the win means to him. "All the hard work has been paying off obviously, and I think it's great for everyone around me who has been helping me out. It's their win too."
Interview with U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman
By making it to the final match, Ghim and Redman will be exempt into the 2018 U.S. Open and British Open, and will traditionally receive an invitation to the 2018 Masters Tournament.
Ghim wore a Masters hat in his semifinal match as a motivator to achieve one of his lifelong goals. This morning he donned a Walker Cup
sweater, as a motivator for making the U.S. team when the matches are held at Los Angeles Country Club in three weeks' time, and with Walker Cup Captain "Spider" Miller in attendance throughout the match. Ghim's consolation was that he was officially named to the team
after the match, as was Redman as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion.
Final Result of the 117th U.S. Amateur
|def. Doug Ghim
(Arlington Heights, IL), 37 holes