Ricky Castillo, of Yorba Linda, California, overcame an early deficit Friday morning to beat Joe Highsmith, of Lakewood, Washington, 1 up in the Sweet 16 of the 119th Western Amateur at Glen View Club.
Castillo trailed 2 down after two holes and 1 down through 13. He saved par to win 16 and made birdie on 17 to take his first lead, winning with a par on 18. With a win on Friday afternoon the Florida junior will be back in the semifinals for the third year in a row.
“It was a tough match, but I was able to gain some momentum on the back nine,” Castillo said.
Castillo will meet medalist and Stanford sophomore Michael Thorbjornsen, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, in the quarterfinals this afternoon. This will be the first time the two standouts have played against each other in match play.
“We know each other from junior golf, and I know how good he is,” Castillo said. “It will be fun.”
Defending champion and Texas senior Pierceson Coody, of Plano, Texas, led from the start in his 2-and-1 win over Karl Vilips, of Perth, Australia. He birdied Nos. 8-9 to go 3 up, but Vilips, who played at Stanford as a freshman, won No. 13 and No. 15. Coody closed him out with a birdie on the 17th.
Luke Potter, of Encinitas, California, earned a 1-up victory over James Piot, of Canton, Michigan. The youngest player in the Sweet 16, Potter will graduate high school in 2022 and is verbally committed to Arizona State.
North Carolina freshman David Ford, of Peachtree Corners, Georgia; Vanderbilt freshman Gordon Sargent, of Birmingham, Alabama; North Carolina junior Austin Greaser, of Vandalia, Ohio; and Oklahoma State junior Brian Stark, of Kingsburg, California, all moved on to the quarters.
Sweet 16 Results
Friday, July 30, 2021
Michael Thorbjornsen, Wellesley, Massachusetts, def. Maxwell Moldovan, Uniontown, Ohio, 2 and 1
Ricky Castillo, Yorba Linda, California, def. Joe Highsmith, Lakewood, Washington, 1 up
Austin Greaser, Vandalia, Ohio, def. Trent Phillips, Inman, South Carolina, 20 holes
Brian Stark, Kingsburg, California, def. Johnny Travale, Ontario, Canada, 2 and 1
David Ford, Peachtree Corners, Georgia, def. Johnny Keefer, San Antonio, Texas, 1 up
Gordon Sargent, Birmingham, Alabama, def. Leo Oyo, San Diego, California, 1 up
Pierceson Coody, Plano, Texas, def. Karl Vilips, Perth, Australia, 2 and 1
Luke Potter, Encinitas, California, def. James Piot, Canton, Michigan, 1 up
by Matt Harness, Western Golf Association
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