U.S. Amateur: Upsets rule the day in the Round of 64
17 Aug 2022
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

see also: View results for U.S. Amateur, Hazeltine National Golf Club, Andrew Von Lossow Rankings

Andrew Von Lossow
Andrew Von Lossow

Fickle as the weather of a Scottish summer and heartless as a spurned lover, the perils of match play were on full display in all of its wonderful and unpredictable disguises today in the round of 64 at the U.S. Amateur in Paramus, NJ.

Though seedings often times are a shallow predictor of success in match play, a total of 13 higher seeds suffered first-round defeats on Wednesday at Ridgewood Country Club, where 22 of the 32 matches went at least 17 holes, including eight that were extended past 18 holes.

Taking into account the margin between the four co-medalists and the last 11 survivors from the playoff for the last spots in the match play draw was only eight strokes, all the trappings were in place for a wild rollercoaster ride on Wednesday at Ridgewood.

The victims...

No. 1 seed Luke Gutschewski - gone - eliminated by Peyton Snoeberger of Williamsport, Ind. in 20 holes.

No. 2 seed Michael Thorbjornsen, the fifth-ranked amateur in the world - gone - ousted Andrew Von Lossow, a 34-year-old, floral shirt-wearing product at Southwestern Oregon Community College who survived a 15-for-11 playoff in the morning just to get into the match play portion of the tournament.

Ludvig Aberg, Golfweek's top-ranked amateur in the world - gone - done in by Florida junior and 2021 Walker Cup team member Ricky Castillo.

Other notable players who saw their championship aspirations squelched at Ridgewood on Wednesday were NCAA men's individual champion Gordon Sargent, who lost in 20 holes to his former high school teammate, Ford Clegg of Mountain Brook, Ala.; No. 9 seed Cohen Trolio, a runner-up at the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur who was ousted by Nicolas Gross, 3 and 1; Western Amateur finalist Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira, who was eliminated by Australian Hayden Hopwell in 19 holes; and U.S. Junior Amateur Wenyi Ding, who came out on the short end of a 23-hole marathon match against Alex Price.

Striking a blow for normalcy, No. 3 seed Hugo Townsend and No. 4 seed Fred Biondi kept alive the possibility of a medalist winning the title for the first time in 18 years with wins over JonErik Alford and Frankie Capan, respectively.

Von Lossow delivered the biggest upset the day when he eliminated, Thorbjornsen, the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur and 2021 Western Amateur champion, 3 and 2. Ranked as high as fifth in the world amateur rankings and one of the co-medalists, the Stanford product played in the 2022 U.S. Open and finished fourth in the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship a week later. He was taken out by a 34-year-old whose most notable victories were capturing back-to-back Spokane City Championships in 2018 and '19 and last year's U.S. Hickory Open in Gearhart, Ore.

Dressed in a floral printed shirt, Von Lossow won three straight holes to open the back nine to build a 3-up lead. He then won No. 10 with a par, took Nos. 11 and 12 with birdies and holed a lengthy sand shot for birdie on the par-3 11th. Von Lossow closed out an impressive 3 and 2 victory by draining a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 16.

"Maybe I'll go red shorts or something [for Thursday]," said Von Lossow. "I don't know if it's turning into a signature. I might go a little brighter. My all-time favorite outfit is the milkman. It's all white. But I don't know if that's going to come out.”

Von Lossow advances to face 34th-seeded Ben Carr, a fifth-year senior at Georgia Southern, in the round of 32 on Thursday.

Snoeberger, a senior at Purdue, was also one of the survivors of the massive playoff to earn a spot in match play. His reward was drawing the top-seed Gutschewski, who he toppled in 20 holes.

“It was a little weird at first getting here so early and having that 15-for-11 playoff," said Snoeberger, who became the second consecutive No. 64 seed to win a match in the U.S. Amateur. "That's something you don't have very often. But I was able to get through. Luke played a great match, and it was long, but I'm on to tomorrow.”

Snoeberger will have his hands full in the round of 32, as he squares off against Big Ten rival Maxwell Moldovan of Ohio State.

As the fate of the draw would have it, several matches featured top players in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

Ricky Castillo
Pitting two of the top amateurs in the world, the Aberg-Castillo match up was certainly certainly worthy of championship status.

Neither player led by more than one hole all day. Castillo, who came within inches of hitting his tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 18th, got up and down for par from 70 yards, while Aberg, of Sweden, had all sorts of trouble with a greenside bunker which led to a triple-bogey 7.

“That was pretty scary,” said Castillo, a rising senior at the University of Florida. “My ball on 18 was less than an inch inbounds and I took advantage of it, made a good par. It's not the way you want to see it end, but it was a really well-fought match.”

Stewart Hagestad, a two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, who is No. 9 in the WAGR defeated world No. 7 Sam Bairstow, of England, the runner-up in this year’s Amateur Championship, 3 and 1, while world No. 3 Sam Bennett defeated 2021 semifinalist Nick Gabrelcik in 19 holes when his 66-yard wedge approach stopped 2½ feet from the flagstick for a winning birdie

“These guys are going to play professional golf and play in some big events for a long, long time," said Hagestad. "Just to be around them, I think it inspires me to raise my game and to rise to the occasion.”

In an intriguing Round of 32 match-up between two players at different points in their careers, the 34-year-old two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion will meet the top-ranked junior player in the world in Ben James, who will begin his freshman year at Virginia in a few weeks.

Connor McKinney, the 2022 Australian Amateur and St. Andrews Links champion, birdied four of his first five holes in eliminating Texas All-American Travis Vick, 3 and 1. Vick, ranked No. 12 in the WAGR, reached the semifinals at Oakmont Country Club last year and was the low amateur in this year’s U.S. Open.

“One of my goals in match play, which I haven't been amazing at, is getting up early,” said McKinney, who lost a 21-hole match in the Sweet 16 in the Western Amateur 10 days ago despite being 5 under par. “So to do it today, it set the tone."

What’s Next

It will be a long day tomorrow at Ridgewood, as the Round of 32 and Round of 16 will be contested on Thursday, followed by the quarterfinals on Friday, semifinals on Saturday and the 36-hole championship match on Sunday.

The USGA contributed to this report.

Results: U.S. Amateur
WinTXSam BennettMadisonville, TX2000
Runner-upGABen CarrColumbus, GA1500
SemifinalsCADylan MenanteCarlsbad, CA1000
SemifinalsMNDerek HitchnerMinneapolis, MN1000
QuarterfinalsPANicholas GrossDowningtown, PA700

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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