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Goetz, a local, is medalist at rain-plagued U.S. Amateur
Photo: Chris Keane/USGA
Photo: Chris Keane/USGA

Mark Goetz of nearby Greensburg, Pa., completed 36 holes of stroke play at 8-under-par 132 at Oakmont Country Club and stroke play co-host the Longue Vue Club to earn medalist honors in the rain-delayed 121st U.S. Amateur Championship on Wednesday.

No. 1 seed Goetz opened match play on Wednesday evening and was tied with David Nyfjall, of Sweden, through four holes when play was suspended at 7:50 p.m. EDT. Nyfjall earned the final spot in the Round of 64 in a 12-for-1 playoff late Wednesday afternoon.

Ricky Castillo, a 2021 USA Walker Cup Team member and the No. 33 seed, won the lone match to finish on Wednesday evening, bolting to a 4-up lead after five holes on the way to a 5-and-4 victory over fellow Californian and No. 32 seed Donald Kay.

“I was really excited to get back out there after the weather delay,” said Castillo, 20, of Yorba Linda, Calif., who is competing in his sixth USGA championship. “I think all of us just wanted to go out and play golf and we were tired of sitting in the locker room for a few hours. Just got off to a hot start, hit a few good shots, made a few good putts, and just never looked back.”

Due to weather delays, only 18 of the 32 Round-of-64 matches started on Wednesday. Play will resume at 7:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday.

Stroke play was delayed for nearly four hours on Tuesday afternoon by storms, and half of the 312-player field was forced to complete Round 2 on Wednesday morning. Another storm early Wednesday afternoon delayed the start of the Round of 64 for another four hours, and matches finally started at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Goetz, the 2019 Western Pennsylvania Amateur champion, completed his final six holes at Oakmont on Wednesday for a 2-under 68 to complement the 6-under 64 he shot on Monday at Longue Vue. The recent graduate of West Virginia University, who grew up about 30 miles from Oakmont and turned 23 on Tuesday, is competing in his third USGA championship: he missed the cut for match play in the 2019 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club and the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur at Flint Hills National.

“I’ve been waiting on this [championship] for two years now,” said Goetz, who played Oakmont about a dozen times before this week. “This has been the biggest accomplishment of my career just making it, and this is my favorite golf course on the planet. I need everything I have out here every single time I play it and it’s always a lot of fun.”

Brian Ma, 20, of Milpitas, Calif., a sophomore at Harvard University, earned the No. 2 seed, one stroke behind Goetz at 7-under 133. Ma made six birdies in a round of 2-under 68 at Oakmont after shooting 65 at Longue Vue. Michael Thorbjornsen, the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and the recent Western Amateur champion, secured the No. 3 seed with rounds of 65-69 for a 6-under total of 134.

Ma trailed Eddy Lai, of San Jose, Calif., 1 up, through three holes when play was halted on Wednesday. Thorbjornsen’s match against No. 62 Harrison Ott, of Brookfield, Wis., is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.

What’s Next

The Round of 64 continues on Thursday morning, with the last match scheduled to begin at 9:40 a.m. EDT. Peacock, Golf Channel and NBC will broadcast all four remaining days of match play, with the 36-hole final scheduled for Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. EDT.

Notable

A total of 63 players shot 2-over-par 142 or better, which left 12 players at 3-over-par 143 to battle for the No. 64 spot in the bracket. David Nyfjall, 22, of Sweden, sank an 8-foot par putt on the third playoff hole (Oakmont’s 18th) to advance after reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion Nick Dunlap failed to get up and down. Nyfjall, Dunlap and Joe Alfieri, of Lutz, Fla., all birdied the first playoff hole (No. 15) to advance to No. 18, the second playoff hole, where Alfieri was eliminated with a bogey.

The cut to get into the playoff for stroke play came at 3 over par, one stroke higher than last year at Bandon Dunes. The cut to earn a spot in the stroke-play playoff in recent years has been consistent: it fell at 3 over at Olympia Fields in 2015; 2 over at Oakland Hills in 2016; 4 over at Riviera in 2017; 4 over at Pebble Beach in 2018; and 5 over at Pinehurst in 2019. The 12 competitors in the playoff on Wednesday are the fewest since the 2006 championship.

Mark Goetz’s 36-hole total of 132 is tied for the second-lowest stroke-play total in championship history. Hayden Wood shot 131 over two rounds at The Riviera Country Club and Bel-Air Country Club in 2017. Goetz’s score ties four other players, most recently Wilson Furr in 2020 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (Bandon Dunes and Bandon Trails courses).

In the 2003 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont, Nick Flanagan advanced from a 14-for-12 playoff en route to the title.

In the Round of 64 match between 2020 U.S. Amateur runner-up Ollie Osborne and Canada’s Xavier Marcoux, only one hole was halved on the front nine. Each player won four holes, and they were tied through 11 holes when play was suspended for the day.

2017 USA Walker Cup Team member Norman Xiong caddied for Donald Kay in his loss in the Round of 64 to 2021 USA Walker Cup Team member Ricky Castillo.

Ryan Driscoll, USGA

Results: U.S. Amateur
WinMIJames PiotCanton, MI2000
Runner-upOHAustin GreaserVandalia, OH1500
SemifinalsTXTravis VickHouston, TX1000
SemifinalsFLNick GabrelcikTrinity, FL1000
QuarterfinalsMORoss SteelmanColumbia, MO700

View full results for U.S. Amateur

ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur

The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA championship, was first played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is one of 14 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent amateur competition in the world. Applications are typically placed online in the spring at www.usga.org.

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