Erin, Wis. – Bobby Leopold, 26, of Cranston, R.I., continued his improbable march through the match-play bracket, defeating 2011 USA Walker Cup Team member Harris English by a 4-and-3 margin in Thursday’s second round of match play at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship at 7,660-yard, par-72 Erin Hills.
Defending champion Peter Uihlein, 21, of Orlando, Fla., also moved into Friday’s round of 16 by defeating South African Dylan Frittelli, 5 and 4.
Leopold, the oldest player remaining in the championship, never trailed in the match. After halving the opening two holes, including matching birdies to open the round, English, 22, of Thomasville, Ga., bogeyed the par-4 third to hand Leopold an early 1-up lead.
The start was huge for me, said Leopold, an insurance producer who was raised in England. I made a good putt on one. We decided we needed to make four, five or six birdies for the round to stay ahead of Harris. To get that one off the bat and match his, it was kind of like ‘OK, we can compete with this guy.’
Earlier in the day, Leopold, who advanced to match play by surviving a 20-for-4 playoff, had defeated stroke-play medalist Gregor Main, 2 and 1.
I’m trying to keep it all in perspective, said Leopold of his success. Everyone’s good. Harris is a really good player. He won a Nationwide Tour event. You could say giant killer, but everyone can win on a given day and beat each other.
Harris didn’t have his best day, probably, and I had a good day. That’s golf. That’s the way it pans out. It’s a crazy game.
Uihlein, who will represent the United States on his second Walker Cup Team in September, trailed early, twice falling 1 down over the first four holes.
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.
A birdie on the par-4 seventh sparked a string of five consecutive holes won for the Oklahoma State University senior. Uihlein pointed to his birdie on No. 7 as the moment that turned the match in his favor.
The first six holes were a grind, said Uihlein. On seven, when I made that putt, it felt big for me to have a putt go in and have it going the rest of the day.
Uihlein will next face his 2010 USA World Amateur Team Championship teammate Scott Langley, of St. Louis, Mo. Langley, the 2010 NCAA champion while at the University of Illinois, eliminated Mitch Sutton, of Canada, 4 and 3.
In a meeting of 2011 USA Walker Cup teammates, Patrick Cantlay, 19, of Los Alamitos, Calif., defeated Russell Henley, 22, of Macon, Ga., in a hard-fought, 21-hole battle. Henley held the lead for the majority of the match, which was dormie with two holes to play. However, back-to-back birdies by Cantlay at 17 and 18 sent the match into extra holes.
The 19th hole provided perhaps the highlight of the championship thus far, with both players converting long eagle putts to extend the match. It was a moment that elicited a reaction from the normally stoic Cantlay.
I let out a yell on one after I made my eagle and that’s probably the most excited I’ve ever been on the golf course in my life, said Cantlay, an incoming sophomore at UCLA who received the 2011 Nicklaus Award as the NCAA Division I Player of the Year.
Cantlay ultimately won the match when Henley bogeyed the 21st hole. Henley, however, was not disappointed with his championship run.
I felt like I made a good run, said Henley, a University of Georgia graduate who won the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic at UGA in May. I didn’t hand anything to anybody, and that’s what I’m proud of – never giving up.
Patrick Rodgers, 19, of Avon, Ind., another member of the USA Walker Cup Team, advanced with a 6-and-4 victory over Jonathan Garrick, 17, of Atherton, Calif. The sixth USA Walker Cup player to advance to match play, 20-year-old Chris Williams from Moscow, Idaho, was defeated by Max Buckley, 21, of Rye, N.Y., 1 up.
Tom Lewis, 20, who held the first-round lead at the 2011 British Open Championship and finished as low amateur, and Jack Senior, 23, two Englishmen who will represent Great Britain and Ireland at next month’s Walker Cup Match, both advanced to the round of 16. Lewis defeated 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Cory Whitsett, while Senior dispatched 2010 Junior Amateur runner-up Justin Thomas.
The first round of match play, which was delayed due to weather on Tuesday, was completed Thursday morning. The third and fourth rounds will be conducted Friday.
The 2011 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.
The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Erin, Wis. -- Results of the second round of match play at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship, played at 7,760-yard, par-72 Erin Hills.
Bobby Leopold, Cranston, R.I. (142) d. Harris English, Thomasville, Ga. (142), 4 and 3
Jordan Russell, College Station, Texas (140) d. Bryson Dechambeau, Clovis, Calif. (141), 5 and 3
Peter Uihlein, Orlando, Fla. (137) d. Dylan Frittelli, South Africa (140), 5 and 4
Scott Langley, St. Louis, Mo. (137) d. Mitch Sutton, Canada (140), 4 and 3
John Peterson, Fort Worth, Texas (139) d. Stephan Jaeger, Germany (142), 1 up
Max Buckley, Rye, N.Y. (141) d. Chris Williams, Moscow, Idaho (139), 1 up
Patrick Cantlay, Los Alamitos, Calif. (140) d. Russell Henley, Macon, Ga. (135), 21 holes
Tom Lewis, England (139) d. Cory Whitsett, Houston, Texas (137), 19 holes
Blake Biddle, St. Charles, Ill. (134) d. Peter Williamson, Hanover, N.H. (140), 2 up
Kelly Kraft, Denton, Texas (141) d. Andrew Putnam, University Place, Wash. (138), 3 and 2
Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind. (136) d. Jonathan Garrick, Atherton, Calif. (139), 6 and 4
Sunil Jung, Korea (137) d. Tim Madigan, Rio Rancho, N.M. (140), 5 and 4
John Hahn, Las Vegas, Nev. (139) d. Beau Hossler, Mission Viejo, Calif. (135), 2 up
Jack Senior, England (140) d. Justin Thomas, Goshen, Ky. (138), 4 and 3
Ben Geyer, Arbuckle, Calif. (135) d. Chase Wright, Muncie, Ind. (139), 4 and 3
Jordan Spieth, Dallas, Texas (137) d. Lee Bedford, Cary, N.C. (140), 2 and 1
Erin, Wis. – Pairings for Friday’s third round of match play at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship, played at 7,760-yard, par-72 Erin Hills. (All times CDT)
7:30 a.m. Bobby Leopold, Cranston, R.I. (142) v. Jordan Russell, College Station, Texas (140)
7:40 a.m. Peter Uihlein, Orlando, Fla. (137) v. Scott Langley, St. Louis, Mo. (137)
7:50 a.m. John Peterson, Fort Worth, Texas (139) d. Max Buckley, Rye, N.Y. (141)
8 a.m. Patrick Cantlay, Los Alamitos, Calif. (140) d. Tom Lewis, England (139)
8:10 a.m. Blake Biddle, St. Charles, Ill. (134) v. Kelly Kraft, Denton, Texas (141)
8:20 a.m. Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind. (136) v. Sunil Jung, Korea (137)
8:30 a.m. John Hahn, Las Vegas, Nev. (139) v. Jack Senior, England (140)
8:40 a.m. Ben Geyer, Arbuckle, Calif. (135) v. Jordan Spieth, Dallas, Texas (137)