Ricky Castillo (Western Amateur photo)
By Matt Harness
In the marquee quarterfinal match at the 118th Western Amateur on Friday, Ricky Castillo, of Yorba Linda, California, outlasted Andy Ogletree, of Little Rock, Mississippi, in 20 holes at Crooked Stick Golf Club.
Castillo, a sophomore at Florida and the second-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, qualified for the semifinals for the second year in a row.
He led 2 up after a birdie at the 14th, but Ogletree had birdies on Nos. 15 and 18 to send the match into extra holes. Ogletree, the ninth-ranked player in the world and the defending U.S. Amateur champion, kept his hopes alive by making a par on No. 17 after hitting his tee ball into the water hazard.
After each player parred No. 1, Castillo closed out Ogletree, who was a senior at Georgia Tech this past season, with a par. Castillo carded five birdies and an eagle, while Ogletree finished with four birdies and an eagle.
“Andy is such a good player, and it was a great match,” Castillo said. “It was back and forth. You had to hit good shots and make birdies to win holes.”
In the morning round, Castillo beat Harrison Ott, of Brookfield, Wisconsin, 2 and 1. Castillo tied the match with a birdie at No. 14 and then eagled the par-5 15th. He took a 2-up lead with par at No. 16.
“It was a long day, but it was a fun day,” Castillo said.
George Duangmanee, of Fairfax, Virginia, a freshman at Virginia, pulled off the biggest surprise of the day by defeating Davis Thompson, of Saint Simons Island, Georgia. Thompson, a senior at Georgia and the fourth-ranked player in the world, was the medalist last year.
Trailing 5 down through six, Duangmanee, the 208th-ranked player, won seven of the last 12 holes to defeat Thompson in 19.
“Honestly, I was almost ready to go home because he was playing insane golf,” Duangmanee said. “But I stayed patient and waited for my opportunities to come, and I capitalized on them.”
Duangmanee will play Pierceson Coody, of Plano, Texas, in Saturday’s semifinals. Coody, a sophomore at Texas, beat Connor Creasy, of Abingdon, Virginia, 5 and 4 in the quarters. Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen, of Copenhagen, Denmark, and a junior at Oklahoma State, earned a date with Castillo in the semis after defeating Austin Hitt, of Longwood, Florida, 2 and 1.
The semifinals will start at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the championship match scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The winner will hoist the George R. Thorne Trophy.
“That win gave me a lot of confidence going into (Saturday), but I have to be patient and worry only about myself,” Duangmanee said.
Added Castillo, “Hopefully, I am able to win it this year, but there’s a lot of golf left. If I keep playing solid, I know I have a chance. I’m excited.”
ABOUT THE Western Amateur
Invitational event, and the most important
tournament in American amateur golf outside of the
U.S. Amateur. With a grueling schedule, it's quite
hardest amateur tournament to win.
156 invited players come from across the
globe to play one of the toughest formats in
amateur golf. The tournament starts with 18
holes of stroke play on Tuesday and
Wednesday after which the field is cut to the
low 44 scores and ties. Thursday it's a long
day of 36 holes of stroke play to determine
the “Sweet Sixteen” who compete at Match
Play on Friday and Saturday (two matches
each day if you're going to the finals) to
decide the champion.
View Complete Tournament Information