Neil Raymond, of England, and Brady Watt, of Australia, the top seeds in the match-play bracket, each defeated second-round opponents on Thursday morning to advance to the third round of match play in the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship at the 7,310-yard, par-70 The Country Club.
Raymond, 27, won four of five holes in the middle of the round with three pars and one birdie to take control against Zachary Olsen, 19, of Cordova, Tenn. His par 4 on the 506-yard ninth stood out when he struck a 4-iron approach to within 15 feet in a 2-and-1 victory.
"It’s probably as near to the golf I played here on Monday," said Raymond, who was co-medalist in stroke play with a pair of 67s and is playing in his first USGA championship. "I hit some real quality shots from 8 through 12. Actually, the second shot into 14 was the best. I had 213 to the flag and I hit a perfect 5-iron."
Watt, who shared medalist honors with rounds of 68 and 66 in stroke play, leaped to a 5-up lead after 10 holes en route to a 3-and-2 triumph against Seth Reeves, 22, of Duluth, Ga. He birdied hole Nos. 2, 6 and 10 during that stretch and even got a break on his first hole of the inward nine when his tee shot hit a tree and kicked back into the first cut of rough.
"Golf is cruel enough that you need breaks like that," said Watt, a 23-year-old who arrived in the United States for the first time on June 28. "I hit it quite well; I pured a lot of shots. If I keep putting let’s see how far I get into the week."
Chelso Barrett, 18, of Surry, N.H., marched into the third round with a 4-and-3 win over fourth-seeded Justin Shin, 21, of Canada. Barrett, the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up, won four consecutive holes on the outward nine with two birdies and two pars to build a 3-up lead.
"That was a pretty good run when I won four in a row," said Barrett, one of 11 players in the Round of 32 who played in last year’s U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club, near Denver. "I was just trying to stay in the fairway and hit the greens. I wasn’t trying to make birdies."
Oliver Goss, of Australia, and Matthew Fitzpatrick, of England, each won second-round matches as the third and fifth seeds, respectively. Goss, a 19-year-old who was a 2012 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist, pulled away from Carr Vernon, 19, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., by winning No. 14 with a bogey and No. 16 with a par for a 2-up victory.
Fitzpatrick, an 18-year-old who was the low amateur at last month’s British Open Championship, birdied three of the opening four holes against Blake Morris, 21, of Waterbury, Conn. Fitzpatrick held a 6-up lead as he moved to the inward nine before his opponent cut the deficit in half. But the 2012 British Boys’ champion got up and down from a greenside bunker for par on No. 15 to close out a 4-and-3 victory.
"I just played solid and holed a couple of my putts, really," said Fitzpatrick, who hit a 54-degree wedge to 20 feet to set up his birdie at the 330-yard, par-4 fourth. "That was about it. I played nicely like I have been and holed a couple of putts."
Patrick Rodgers, a two-time USA Walker Cup Team selection, won four consecutive holes on the inward nine to go ahead before holding off Greg Eason, 21, of England, 3 and 2. Rodgers, one of five players already named to the 2013 USA Walker Cup squad, saw his 4-up lead sliced in half, but regrouped with birdies on Nos. 12 and 13. He hit a wedge to 8 feet on the 626-yard, par-5 12th and followed by hitting an 8-iron to 5 feet on the par-4 13th.
"I hit quality shots," said Rodgers, a 21-year-old from Avon, Ind., who advanced to match play by surviving a 17-for-15 playoff. "I played really smart. I put some pressure on him by having some good looks at birdie. I played really disciplined and really played well throughout the day."
In a feature match of the second round, Scottie Scheffler, 17, of Dallas, rallied to defeat 2012 U.S. Amateur semifinalist Brandon Hagy, 22, of Westlake Village, Calif., in 20 holes. Scheffler, the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, was 2 down to Hagy on the inward nine, but won No. 14 with a par and No. 17 with a birdie to square the match. After they halved the next two holes with a bogey and a par, Scheffler sank a 4-foot par putt on the 197-yard, par-3 second to win the match.
"My experience in four Junior Amateurs and then last year’s U.S. Amateur helped me a lot," said Scheffler, who also won his first-round match, over Stewart Jolly, in 20 holes.
The U.S. Amateur Championship continues with the Round of 16, starting at 1:15 p.m. EDT on Thursday. The quarterfinal and semifinals rounds will be played on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and the championship is scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. EDT.
Brian DePasquale is a manager of championship communications at the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.