Cantlay the one to beat at US Am!
BY Anthony Powter | US Mens Amateur Tour | 2011 US Amateur Championship | Matchplay Round Two | 26 Aug 2011
Patrick Cantlay has rallied from two holes down with two to play to defeat Russell Henley, his Walker Cup teammate, in 21 holes in a second-round match at the US Amateur being played at Erin Hills near Milwaukee.
Cantlay will face England’s Tom Lewis in the round of 16 after Lewis accounted for Cory Whitsett, the 2007 US Junior Amateur champion, on the 19th.
The Cantlay/Lewis match up promises to be one of the best encounters at these championships with Lewis ranked 3rd in the world against the world’s number 1. Cantlay has already this season finished in the top-25 in four PGA Tour starts, including the US Open.
Lewis who held the 18-hole lead at this year’s Open Championship and won the prestigious St Andrews Links Trophy is all class and on foreign shores can fly beneath the radar, which suits the reserved Englishman to a tee.
Lewis has advanced this far despite struggling with his driver around the open Erin Hills layout, saved by his ever classy short game and solid putting. His match against Cantlay will showcase two amateurs who’ve had impressive success in majors this summer, and preview a potential Walker Cup match showdown.
Cantlay will arguably head into the top-16 encounter the championship favourite after his titanic match against fellow countryman and world number 4, Henley. Cantlay is confident and pumped for these championships.
“It was an unbelievable match, said Cantlay about his encounter with Henley.
“It was a hell of a lot of fun to be a part of, and we both played really well. My emotions were running high, then I tried to settle myself down.It was that kind of match. It was a big crowd, and everyone was going pretty crazy at that point.”
In other second round matches Bobby Leopold continued his march through the match-play bracket, defeating 2011 USA Walker Cup Team member Harris English by a 4&3 margin. Leopold, who advanced to match play by surviving a 20-for-4 playoff, had defeated stroke-play medalist Gregor Main, 2&1, in the first round.
Defending champion Peter Uihlein also moved into Friday’s round of 16 by defeating South African Dylan Frittelli, 5&4.
Uihlein, who will represent the United States on his second Walker Cup Team in September, trailed early to be 1 down over the first four holes, yet managed to claw his way back into the match to eventually account for Frittelli.
“You are going to have stretches of holes where things don’t go your way,” said Uihlein, who won the 2011 Hogan Award as the nation’s top collegiate golfer.
“You have to grind and keep fighting. The first six holes I didn’t make a thing. I just wanted to keep going and make good strokes and hope they would eventually start falling and they did.”
Uihlein will next face his 2010 USA World Amateur Team Championship teammate, Scott Langley.
Langley, the 2010 NCAA champion, eliminated Mitch Sutton of Canada, 4&3, after Sutton had earlier easily disposed of the sole Australian to qualify for match play, Daniel Nisbet, 2&1 in the first round.
Patrick Rodgers another member of the USA Walker Cup Team, advanced with a 6&4 victory over Jonathan Garrick. The sixth USA Walker Cup player to advance to match play, Chris Williams, was defeated by Max Buckley, 1 up.
The top-16 represents the cream of the world amateur crop in what is shaping up to be a classic US Amateur.
Keep an eye out for Englishman Jack Senior.
Senior will face off against 2009 Western Amateur champion John Hahn after accounting for Corbin Mills, 6&4 in the opening round and Justin Thomas 4&3.
Senior earlier in the year when touring Australia won the NSW Amateur and is a tenacious match play exponent. It would not surprise me to see the world number 11 standing on the tee in Sunday’s final, although he’ll have his work cut out with potential encounters against Jordan Spieth and Patrick Rodgers.
Jordan Spieth is another to monitor as these championships head towards the business end of proceedings.
Spieth played well as few week’s back in Chicago making the quarter finals of the Western Amateur, is the 2011 US Junior Amateur champion and play well above his 18-years of age. Based in the lower half of the draw, Spieth potentially could meet Senior in the quarter-final.
With the way the seedings have unfolded in establishing the top-16, the pathway to the Sunday’s final is filled with potential classic encounters.
Uihlein, the defending champion, is placed in the upper half and potentially could meet Cantlay in Saturday’s semi-final, but would have to overcome a possible semi-final against Jordan Russell.
Cantlay will have his hands full with Lewis and whoever should win that match should progress far in these championships.
Rogers has an easier path, if there is such a thing in a US Amateur championship, positioned in the bottom half of the draw. Rodgers, is coming off a stellar season in the US after winning the Porter Cup, securing a runner-up finish at the Players Amateur and a 4th place finish at the Northeast Amateur.
Rodgers will meet Korea’s, Sunil Jung in the round of 16 to potential set up a quarter-final match with either Blake Biddle or Kelly Kraft.
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