Cherry Hills Village, Colo. – Stroke-play medalist Bobby Wyatt, 20, of Mobile, Ala., rallied from a three-hole deficit in his second-round match against Matthew Stieger, 21, of Australia, to win, 2-up, Thursday at the 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship at the par-71 7,409-yard Cherry Hills Country Club.
Stieger was 2-up through four holes, having made birdies on Nos. 2 and 3. Wyatt proceeded to bogey the par-5 fifth to go 3-down.
“I wasn’t playing too hot early on. I just wasn’t precise,” said Wyatt. “The course is playing a lot tougher today.”
Wyatt battled back to square the match by the 11th hole. He made a two-putt birdie on No. 17, a par 5, after a 400-yard drive to take the lead for good. On No. 18, Stieger conceded the hole and the match.
“I just have to build on the mind-set I have now, and if I just play my game, I think it will be good enough,” said Wyatt. He will play his University of Alabama teammate, Justin Thomas, 19, in the round of 16.
Albin Choi, 20, of Canada, birdied the first hole and never trailed in his match against Thomas Pieters, 20, of Belgium, prevailing, 4 and 3. Pieters, the reigning NCAA Division I champion, had defeated 2012 U.S. Open low amateur Jordan Spieth in the first round.
Pieters aced the par-3 sixth hole against Choi. The momentum swung Pieters’ way for a few holes, but that didn’t faze Choi.
“I couldn’t be mad losing to a hole-in-one, so I was happy for him, and even if he didn’t make it, he still would have tapped in for birdie,” said Choi. “So I was fine with losing that hole.”
Choi, a member of Canada’s 2010 World Amateur Team, played Nos. 10 through 15 in even-par to advance to the round of 16.
Chris Williams, 21, of Moscow, Idaho, the No. 1-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, won his match, 5 and 3, against recent East Carolina University graduate Adam Stephenson, 22, of Greenville, N.C.
A 2011 USA Walker Cup team member, Williams has not trailed in either of his first two matches, which gives him a lot of confidence going into the afternoon.
“Coming from behind is no fun, so it’s always nice to have the lead,” said Williams, who is carrying his own bag this week. “You have to get the early lead, that’s always a big thing and then just cruise on in after that.”
Matches for the round of 16 began at 1:15 p.m. MDT.
Cassandra Stein is the USGA’s communications summer intern. Email her at email@example.com.