TRUCKEE, Calif. – John Augenstein, 15, of Owensboro, Ky., defeated stroke-play medalist Jim Liu, 17, of Smithtown, N.Y., in 20 holes on Thursday morning in the second round of match play in the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at the 7,740-yard, par-72 Martis Camp Club.
Liu, the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and the runner-up in this championship last year, squared the match on the par-4 17th with a 20-foot birdie putt. He and Augenstein halved the next two holes, but Liu found trouble on the 465-yard, par-4 second, the match’s 20th hole. After some debate about club selection, his 7-iron approach shot was short of the green. Augenstein later burned the hole with a 10-foot birdie putt and Liu missed a 7-footer for par that ended his bid for a second Junior Amateur title.
“I saw his [birdie putt] fall a little left,” said Liu, who became the third player to earn Junior Amateur medalist honors twice, joining Tiger Woods and Willie Wood, with a 36-hole score of 136. “I knew I had to give it a little bit of speed so I thought I would give it a little less break and it just caught the lip on the low side.”
Augenstein, who is playing in his first USGA championship, showed grit throughout the inward nine and answered Liu twice with birdies. He hit a choke-down 9-iron to 3 feet at No. 14 after Liu squared the match with a birdie on the previous hole. Liu eagled the par-5 15th but Augenstein came back with a birdie on No. 16 to take a 1-up lead. He nearly drove the green on the 299-yard par4 and chipped to 4 feet by negotiating a mound with a gap wedge.
“There were so many momentum changes,” said Augenstein, who did not three-putt a green during the round. “You just have to keep your head up and keep plugging away. I hit a lot of good iron shots and hit a lot of greens, which gave me a lot of chances.”
Cameron Young, the second seed, and Scottie Scheffler, the third seed, each advanced to the championship’s third round. Young, 16, of Scarborough, N.Y. defeated Tyson Reeder, 16, of Edmond, Okla., 3 and 2. Scheffler, 17, of Dallas, recorded a 1-up victory over Maverick McNealy, 17, of Portola Valley, Calif.
Young, who reached match play last year in his first Junior Amateur, closed out his match by holing a 30-foot chip for an eagle on No. 15 and making a par to win the 16th hole.
“I didn’t putt particularly well today,” said Young, who recently completed his sophomore year at Fordham Prep in the Bronx. “I hit the ball very well. I just didn’t convert on some opportunities. I barely missed a lot of them.”
Scheffler, who is making his fourth Junior Amateur appearance, took a 3-up lead in his match with pars at Nos. 12 and 13. McNealy, a 2012 Junior Amateur quarterfinalist, tried to rally in the closing holes, making birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to cut Scheffler’s lead to 1 up, but Scheffler closed out the match with two pars.
Sam Horsfield, 16, of England, won handily for the second consecutive round. He defeated Nick Hardy, 17, of Northbrook, Ill., 8 and 7, after posting a 7-and-6 victory in the first round. Horsfield’s margin of victory is the largest in back-to-back Junior Amateur matches since 2001. Kevin Silva recorded an 8-and-6 win and a 7-and-6 decision at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Texas.
Horsfield, who has made 12 birdies in 23 holes of match play through two rounds, won seven consecutive holes to close out his opponent. He started with a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 5 and added birdies on Nos. 7 and 10, both par 5s. On the 10th, he blasted out of a greenside bunker to two feet. Things went so well that his tee shot on the 11th hit a tree and caromed back into the fairway. He struck a 5-wood onto the green to set up a two-putt par.
“I missed only one or two fairways,” said Horsfield, who reached the Round of 16 at last week’s U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and won this year’s Florida State Amateur. “I hit the ball really well and made a lot of good putts. Just have to keep playing the way I am and see what happens.”
Zachary Bauchou, 17, of Forest, Va., edged Sahith Theegala, 15, of Chino Hills, Calif., 1 up. The fourth seed eagled the drivable par-4 16th to grab a 2-hole margin. Davis Riley, 16, of Hattiesburg, Miss., dispatched Luis Gagne, 15, of Costa Rica, 5 and 4. The fifth seed won four consecutive holes on the inward nine to pull away.
The U.S. Junior Amateur Championship continues with the Round of 16 at 1 p.m. PDT on Thursday. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played on Friday, and the championship is scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Saturday, starting at 7 a.m. PDT.
The U.S. Junior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Brian DePasquale is a manager of championship communications for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.