The match was a clash between two Atlantic Coast Conference golfers, with Graham, a rising junior at Florida State University, 1 down to Griffin, an incoming senior at Georgia Tech University, as they played the 17th hole. Graham hit his approach to 8 feet and sank his birdie putt, pulling the match to all square with one hole to go.
At No. 18, both players pulled their drives left of the fairway. Graham knocked his approach onto the green, while Griffin’s found the front-right bunker. After Graham two-putted, Griffin had a long putt for par to extend the match. The putt slid just left of the hole and the North Carolinian hunched over, hands on his knees, until Graham consoled him with a hug.
That was a really tough match, said Graham, who was a semifinalist at the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur. We both played about the same the whole day. No one was really up or down a lot in the match.
Graham will be joined in Thursday afternoon’s round of 16 by Chris Williams, 19, of Moscow, Idaho, who received the 2010 Phil Mickelson Award as the outstanding freshman in NCAA Division I men’s golf. Williams edged 2010 NCAA Division I individual champion Scott Langley, 21, of St. Louis, Mo., in 20 holes.
It was a great match overall, said Williams, a rising sophomore at the University of Washington. We were never really more than one or two up on each other. It was just a battle. If you made a par you weren’t winning holes, so it was a grind all day.
Patrick Reed, 19, of Augusta, Ga., a member of the 2010 NCAA Division I team champion Augusta State University, also advanced, defeating Alex Edfort, 18, of Somerset, N.J., 3 and 2.
The third round of match play will be played Thursday afternoon, followed by the quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday. The championship will conclude with Saturday’s scheduled 36-hole final.
The U.S. Amateur Public Links, established in 1922 for bona fide public-course players, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.Story written by Justin Hancher and David Normoyle, USGA Communications. Contact them with questions or comments at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .