Four-Time USGA Winner Smith, 2013 Semifinalist Conners Lead Quarterfinalists At U.S. Amateur


Zachary Olsen never trailed in his Round of 16 match against reigning U.S. Junior Amateur champion Will Zalatoris on Thursday, ultimately prevailing, 5 & 3. He was 5-under par in 15 holes with the usual match-play concessions. (USGA/Chris Keane)
By Pete Kowalski, USGA
August 14, 2014

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Four-time USGA champion Nathan Smith, of Pittsburgh, and 2013 semifinalist Corey Conners, of Canada, were among a group of eight players who each won two matches Thursday to advance to the quarterfinal round of match play in the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club’s 7,105-yard, par-71 Highlands Course.

Smith, at 36 the oldest remaining contestant, defeated Brandon McIver, 4 and 3,  in the second round, and 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Byron Meth, 21, of San Diego, in 21 holes in the third round. Smith, an investment advisor, was the final player to advance to the 64-man match-play field through a playoff on Wednesday morning.

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“I just try to play hard and try not to give too many holes away and just try to stay with the guys and it's worked out,” said the four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and three-time USA Walker Cup Team member. “So far, so good.”

Smith, who is playing in his 14th U.S. Amateur, is making his deepest run in the USGA’s oldest championship this year. His previous best finish was advancing to the third round in 2000.

“In these events, you just have to turn your brain off and just go play, play hard,” said Smith. “Whatever happens, happens. You can't worry about what the stakes are or what's on the line. Just go play your heart out, and if somebody dusts you up tomorrow, it is what it is; and if you keep going, it's great.”

The 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday, starting at 8:30 a.m. The quarterfinal round of match play is set for Friday and the semifinal round is scheduled for Saturday.

Conners, a senior at Kent State, defeated Jon Rahm of Spain, 3 and 1, in the third round after a 4-and-3 morning win over Jesse Heinly.

“I feel like my game's getting better and better as the matches go on,” said Conners, who enlisted his college roommate and teammate Taylor Pendrith as his caddie for Thursday. “I am hitting it where I want to, so it is pretty easy to feel good and have some confidence.”

Conners and Pendrith were co-players of the year in the Mid-American Conference.

Conners built a 3-up lead through nine holes but Rahm, who is 14th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, won the next three holes to square the match. He then won three of the next four holes, two with birdies to secure the victory.

Also advancing to the quarterfinals with third-round wins were: Gunn Yang, 20, a Korean citizen who plays college golf at San Diego State, who defeated Georgia Tech All-American and world No.1 Ollie Schniederjans, 1 up; Oklahoma State sophomore Zachary Olsen, 20, of Cordova, Tenn., who beat 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Will Zalatoris, 5 and 3; University of Houston senior Roman Robledo, 21, of Harlingen, Texas, who defeated SMU’s Bryson DeChambeau, 3 and 1; high school senior Cameron Young, 17, of Scarborough, N.Y., who edged Baylor All-American Kyle Jones, 1 up; Pepperdine junior Fred Wedel, 19, of The Woodlands, Texas; who beat 2013 British Open contestant Jimmy Mullen of England, 2 and 1; and University of Virginia senior and 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur semifinalist Denny McCarthy, 21, of Rockville, Md., who came from behind to beat 2013 Canadian Amateur winner Eli Cole, 1 up.

All quarterfinalists earn an exemption into the 2015 U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Results from Thursday’s second round of match play at the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at 7,105-yard, par-71 Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands Course).

Round of 32

Upper Bracket

Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh, Pa. (145) def. Brandon McIver, Billings, Mont. (143), 4 and 3

Byron Meth, San Diego, Calif. (140) def. Trevor Phillips, Inman, S.C. (144), 5 and 4

Jimmy Mullen, England (139) def. Justin Tereshko, Madison, Ind. (142), 23 holes

Frederick Wedel, The Woodlands, Texas (144) def. Derek Bard, New Hartford, N.Y. (142), 2 and 1

Kyle Jones, Taylor, Ariz. (143) def. Garrett Rank, Canada (145), 2 and 1

Cameron Young, Scarborough, N.Y. (140) def. Isaiah Logue, Fairfield, Pa. (144), 2 up

Ollie Schniederjans, Powder Springs, Ga. (142) def. Sam Burns, Shreveport, La. (138), 20 holes

Gunn Yang, Republic of Korea (141) def. Paul Howard, England (144), 1 up

 

Lower Bracket

Corey Conners, Canada (142) def. Jesse Heinly, Bend, Ore. (145), 4 and 3

Jon Rahm, Spain (144) def. Rico Hoey, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (144), 3 and 2

Will Zalatoris, Plano, Texas (138) def. Mario Galiano, Spain (142), 4 and 2

Zachary Olsen, Cordova, Tenn. (141) def. Bo Andrews, Raleigh, N.C. (144), 4 and 3

Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, Calif. (143) def. Cheng-Tsung Pan, Chinese Taipei (138), 2 up

Roman Robledo, Harlingen, Texas (144) vs. Robby Shelton, Wilmer, Ala. (140), 1 up

Eli Cole, Los Angeles, Calif. (142) def. Jonathan Garrick, Atherton, Calif. (138), 1 up

Denny McCarthy, Rockville, Md. (141) def. Jonathan Chang, Corona, Calif. (144), 5 and 3

 

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Results from Thursday’s third round of match play at the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at 7,105-yard, par-71 Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands Course).

Round of 16 

Upper Bracket

Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh, Pa. (145) def. Byron Meth, San Diego, Calif. (140), 21 holes

Frederick Wedel, The Woodlands, Texas (144) def. Jimmy Mullen, England (139), 2 and 1

Cameron Young, Scarborough, N.Y. (140) def. Kyle Jones, Taylor, Ariz. (143), 1 up

Gunn Yang, Republic of Korea (141) def. Ollie Schniederjans, Powder Springs, Ga. (142), 1 up

 

Lower Bracket

Corey Conners, Canada (142) def. Jon Rahm, Spain (144), 3 and 1

Zachary Olsen, Cordova, Tenn. (141) def. Will Zalatoris, Plano, Texas (138), 5 and 3

Roman Robledo, Harlingen, Texas (144) def. Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, Calif. (143), 3 and 1

Denny McCarthy, Rockville, Md. (141) def. Eli Cole, Los Angeles, Calif. (142), 1 up

 

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Pairings for Friday’s quarterfinal round of match play at the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at 7,490-yard, par-71 Atlanta Athletic Club (Highlands Course) (All times EDT):

Quarterfinal Round 

Upper Bracket

11 a.m. – Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh, Pa. (145) vs. Frederick Wedel, The Woodlands, Texas (144)

11:20 a.m. – Cameron Young, Scarborough, N.Y. (140) vs. Gunn Yang, Republic of Korea (141)

 

Lower Bracket

11:40 a.m. – Corey Conners, Canada (142) vs. Zachary Olsen, Cordova, Tenn. (141)

Noon – Roman Robledo, Harlingen, Texas (144) vs. Denny McCarthy, Rockville, Md. (141)

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