Playing in his fifth U.S. Amateur, Travis Vick showed his poise and experience on a long day of pressure-filled golf. (Chris Keane/USGA)
, 21, of Houston, Texas, was among four players to win two matches on Friday at Oakmont Country Club to advance to the semifinal round of the 121st U.S. Amateur Championship.
At No. 4, Vick is the highest-seeded player remaining in the championship. The junior at the University of Texas also has the most USGA championship experience among those who made the quarterfinal round – this is his fifth U.S. Amateur, among eight starts in USGA events, and his best match-play showing. Vick defeated Jose Islas, 3 and 2, in the morning, then held on to oust No. 5 seed Brian Stark, 1 up, on Friday afternoon after Stark birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to push the match to No. 18.
“It’s a pretty cool feeling,” said Vick, who defeated 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Preston Summerhays in the Round of 64 and Texas teammate Parker Coody in the Round of 32. “There are a lot of great players I had to beat in order to get here. They’ve all done amazing things in the amateur world, so it boosts my confidence knowing I can play here and be in the semifinals.”
Dogged by more than 10 hours of weather delays the previous three days, the championship finally got caught up on Friday, with the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals completed on a sunny day with temperatures that reached the high 80s.
, 20, of Vandalia, Ohio, also reached the semifinals, where he will take on Vick on Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT. Greaser, the No. 24 seed, defeated Jacob Bridgeman, 6 and 4, and Ross Steelman, 2 and 1. Greaser’s previous best USGA finish was a quarterfinal showing in the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur at Inverness Club, and he is coming off a run to the semifinals in the Western Amateur two weeks ago.
“I feel like I had maybe the best week of my life,” said Greaser, a junior at the University of North Carolina, of the Western Am at the Glen View Club in Golf, Ill. “Both those weeks I wish I could go back and relive. This one I’m probably going to say the same in a little bit. Just trying to enjoy, soak it up, and not let time fly too fast right now.”
Greaser closed out Steelman by winning the par-3 16th hole with a par, then making a 6-foot putt to top his opponent’s birdie on the 313-yard, par-4 17th hole. Steelman, 20, of Columbia, Mo., who defeated 2021 USA Walker Cup Team member Ricky Castillo, 3 and 2, in the Round of 16, had made three birdies to whittle an early three-hole deficit to one.
, of Canton, Mich., the No. 31 seed, and Nick Gabrelcik
, of Trinity, Fla., the No. 35 seed, will square off in the other semifinal match on Saturday at 2:20 p.m. EDT. Piot, a senior at Michigan State, ousted Thomas Hutchison, 4 and 3, and Matthew Sharpstene, 3 and 1, to improve on his 2020 showing in this championship, when he earned the No. 2 seed before losing in the Round of 32 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
At No. 28, Gabrelcik had the highest World Amateur Golf Ranking of the quarterfinalists. He defeated 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and No. 3 seed Michael Thorbjornsen, 2 and 1, in the Round of 16, then held off Davis Chatfield, 1 up, in the quarterfinals. Chatfield had rallied to tie the match from 3 holes down, but Gabrelcik won No. 15 and halved the last three holes to prevail. Chatfield’s par putt to send the match to extra holes on No. 18 grazed the hole from 25 feet.
“This is my first U.S. Am, first USGA event other than final stage of U.S. Open qualifying,” said Gabrelcik, a sophomore at the University of North Florida who won the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top freshman player. “I had high expectations coming into this week and I'm glad things are going well. The great success in my freshman year definitely is helping this week.”
The four losing quarterfinalists are exempt into next year’s championship, Aug. 15-21, at Ridgewood Country Club, in Paramus, N.J. The players who lose in Saturday’s semifinals earn a two-year exemption.
The championship semifinals will be contested at 2 p.m. and 2:20 p.m. EDT on Saturday, with the 36-hole final set for 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The gates at Oakmont will open at noon on Saturday for spectators. Matches on both days will be broadcast from 3-4 p.m. EDT on Golf Channel and from 4-6 p.m. EDT on NBC.
A Look at the Semifinalists
Travis Vick vs. Austin Greaser, 2:00 p.m. ET
Travis Vick, Houston, Texas
-No. 45 in World Amateur Golf Ranking
-Playing in his eighth USGA championship (fifth U.S. Amateur)
-Made the first double eagle in U.S. Junior Amateur history (2018)
-Junior at the University of Texas
-First-team All-American and All-Big 12 Conference as a sophomore
-Decorated three-sport athlete in high school who was also recruited to play football and baseball in college
-3rd in 2021 Sunnehanna Amateur
-1980 U.S. Amateur champion Hal Sutton is a family friend
Road to the Semifinals
-Shot 67-68–135 in stroke play to earn the No. 4 seed
-R64: Def. Preston Summerhays, 2 and 1
-R32: Def. Parker Coody, 3 and 2
-R16: Def. Jose Islas, 3 and 2
-QF: Def. Brian Stark, 1 up
Austin Greaser, Vandalia, Ohio
-No. 82 in World Amateur Golf Ranking
-Playing in his fourth USGA championship (third U.S. Amateur)
-Quarterfinalist in the 2017 U.S. Junior Amateur
-Semifinalist at the 2021 Western Amateur
-2020 Ohio Amateur champion
-Lowest competitive score was a 62 in this year’s U.S. Amateur qualifier
-Junior at the University of North Carolina (statistics and analytics major)
-Hobbies include fishing, table tennis and spending time at the lake
Road to the Semifinals
-Shot 69-70–139 in stroke play to earn the No. 24 seed
-R64: Def. Bo Andrews, 2 and 1
-R32: Def. Xavier Marcoux, 3 and 2
-R16: Def. Jacob Bridgeman, 6 and 4
-QF: Def. Ross Steelman, 2 and 1
James Piot vs. Nick Gabrelcik, 2:20 pm ET
James Piot, Canton, Mich.
-No. 86 in World Amateur Golf Ranking
-Playing in his third USGA championship (second U.S. Amateur)
-Earned No. 2 seed in 2020 U.S. Amateur, advanced to Round of 32
-Senior at Michigan State University (finance major)
-In 2021 became the first MSU individual golfer to reach the NCAA championship since 2002
-Two-time first-team All-Big Ten player
-Enjoys playing basketball and fishing
Road to the Semifinals
-Shot 73-67–140 in stroke play to earn the No. 31 seed
-R64: Def. Cameron Sisk, 1 up
-R32: Def. Eddy Lai, 4 and 3
-R16: Def. Thomas Hutchison, 4 and 3
-QF: Def. Matthew Sharpstene, 3 and 1
Nick Gabrelcik (Trinity, Fla.)
-No. 28 in World Amateur Golf Ranking
-Playing in his first USGA championship
-Sophomore at University of North Florida (sports management major)
-Won three collegiate events in 2021
-Won Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman Award
-Made his only hole-in-one on the same hole where his grandfather made his first ace
Road to the Semifinals
-Shot 69-71–140 in stroke play to earn the No. 35 seed
-R64: Def. Kieran Vincent, 1 up
-R32: Def. Michael Thorbjornsen, 2 and 1
-R16: Def. Hugo Townsend, 19 holes
-QF: Def. Davis Chatfield, 1 up
At No. 35, Nick Gabrelcik was the lowest seed to advance to the quarterfinals. This year marks the first time since 2004 that no seed above No. 35 got to the final eight. In that’s year’s championship at Winged Foot Golf Club, Danny Green reached the quarterfinals as the No. 35 seed.
Three of the semifinalists from last year’s U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes competed this year (all but champion Tyler Strafaci, who turned professional). Runner-up Ollie Osborne and semifinalist Aman Gupta both lost in the Round of 64, while Matthew Sharpstene, who lost to Osborne in the semifinals last year, was eliminated by James Piot in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Of the 64 players to make the match-play bracket, four colleges had three players apiece (including alumni and commitments): Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Texas and Vanderbilt. Nine colleges had two players get through stroke play: Arizona, Auburn, Florida, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Oregon, Sam Houston State, Stanford and UCLA.
At No. 4, Travis Vick is the first top-four seed to reach the semifinal round of this championship since Cole Hammer (No. 2) in 2018 at Pebble Beach. Hammer lost to eventual champion Viktor Hovland in the semifinals.
For the second straight year, all eight quarterfinalists were from the United States, after not occurring since 2004.
Austin Greaser has trailed for just three holes in his four matches this week and has yet to play the 18th hole.Since 2010, seven medalists or co-medalists have lost in the Round of 64. No. 1 seed Mark Goetz was 3 up with 4 to play, but lost his last four holes to David Nyfjall.