Kory Frost (l) upset No. 1 seed Tim Hogarth in the first round of match play (USGA photo)
Whether in victory, defeat or just by pure fate, two things are certain about match play. First, it has a very short memory and secondly, it pays no attention to seedings.
The first round of match play at the U.S. Senior Amateur is an excellent case in point, where top-seed and medalist Tim Hogarth
was ousted Monday morning by the 64th-seed Kory Frost
in 21 holes at the Country Club of Detroit.
Hogarth, who earned the top-seed after matching the all-time 36-hole scoring record in the U.S. Senior Amateur at 10-under 134 following rounds of 69-65, drew a gritty competitor in Frost, who qualified for match play on the number at 4-over following rounds of 75-73.
With a clean slate, Frost won the first hole with a par and never trailed in the match. The Trabuco Canyon, Calif. resident went 2-up with a birdie on No. 7 only to see Hogarth even the match with a birdie on 8 and an eagle two on the par-4, 441-yard 12th hole, when he holed a 7-iron from 180 yards out.
Frost regained the lead with a birdie on the par-4 426-yard 14th but Hogarth bounced right back to draw even with a par on the 15th.
The players matched scores for the next five holes before Frost closed out the 55-year-old Hogarth on the 21st hole, the par-5, 520-yard third. Frost hit a greenside bunker shot to within two-feet and after Hogarth missed his five-footer for birdie, he tapped in his birdie to eliminate the 1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion and 2010 U.S. Mid-Amateur runner-up.
It was the first time since 2003 that the No. 1 seed was ousted in the Round of 64.
The medalist couldn't find the same magic he displayed over two rounds of stroke play when he made 11 birdies against just one bogey. Hogarth especially struggled on the greens, where he failed to convert a two-footer to win the par-5 ninth hole and missed a five-footer to win the match on the 20th hole.
“I get a nervous feeling in my hands with the putter,” said Hogarth. “And I putted terrible, just awful."
“But Kory played well and deserved to win.”
“I think it’s harder on him from a perspective that he’s been playing well, and probably thinks it’s going to continue,” said Frost, who advanced to the Round of 16 in his first USGA event, the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur at Old Chatham in Durham, N.C. “[But] I was ready to shake his hands several times.”
Other Matches of Note
The Frost-Hogarth match wasn’t the only marathon match of the day. Steve Harwell, of Mooresville, N.C., a quarterfinalist in 2019, eliminated 2018 champion Jeff Wilson, of Fairfield, Calif., in 23 holes. A two-putt par from 20 feet on the 242-yard, par-3 fifth hole allowed Harwell to advance. Wilson found the right greenside bunker and missed his par putt from 18 feet.
Early on, it looked like Harwell might be making a quick exit. Wilson won the first three holes, including an eagle on the par-5 third. The tide turned when Harwell made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 and took the par-5 10th with a par.
“He’s one of the titans and I knew that,” said Harwell of Wilson, one of two players to earn low-amateur honors in the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open. “All I kept saying was keep hitting good putts and they will eventually go in.”
No. 2 seed Chip Lutz, of Reading, Pa., the active consecutive cut streak leader in the U.S. Senior Amateur at 11, overcame a 2-down deficit after two holes to defeat Robert Nelson, of Fairhope, Ala., 5 and 3. The 2015 champion won six of the next eight holes in upping his total match wins in this championship to 26.
Third seed Sean Knapp, of Oakmont, Pa., the 2017 champion; fourth seed and 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball runner-up Sherrill Britt, of West End, N.C.; fifth seed and 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up Roger Newsom, of Virginia Beach, Va.; sixth seed and 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Michael McCoy, of Des Moines, Iowa; and eighth seed Chris Fieger, of Denver, Pa., also advanced. Hanzel improved his match-play record in the Senior Amateur to 21-7.
No. 7 Jeff Knox, of Augusta, Ga., was the only other top-eight seed to be eliminated, falling to 2017 semifinalist Craig Davis, of Chula Vista, Calif., 4 and 2.
Match play continues on Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. EDT with the Round of 32. That will be followed with the Round of 16, beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Frost will meet Rusty Strawn
, who had an easy time with Titus Harris
of Houston, Texas, winning 6 and 5, in the first match on Tuesday morning.
Defending champion Bob Royak
of Alpharetta, Ga., who advanced to the Round of 32 with a 3 and 1 win over Jim Doing
of Verona, Wisc., will meet longtime foe Billy Mitchell
of Atlanta, who was the low amateur in this year’s U.S. Senior Open, when he tied for 46th at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club.
While Royak and Mitchell will be battling for bragging rights in Georgia, all eyes in Des Moines, Iowa will focused on the match longtime friends and combatants Gene Elliott
, the No. 1 ranked senior amateur in the world by Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com, and Mike McCoy
, a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team who advanced to the semifinals in 2018 and the Round of 16 in 2019.
The quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday, with the 18-hole championship match set for Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
The USGA contributed to this report