Andy Ogletree, 17, of Little Rock, Miss., defeated U.S. Open qualifier Cole Hammer in the second round and held a 5-up lead through 11 holes in his third-round match Thursday in the weather-delayed 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at the 7,366-yard, par-72 Colleton River Plantation Club’s Dye Course.
Play was suspended for the day at 6:48 p.m. EDT due to inclement weather with all eight third-round matches still on the course.
The afternoon round was earlier delayed due to rain and lightning for 2 hours, 24 minutes. The championship has been delayed on four occasions over the last three days. Play is scheduled to resume on Friday at 7:30 a.m., with the quarterfinal round of match play to follow.
The U.S. Junior Amateur Championship is expected to continue with the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on Friday. The championship is scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Saturday, starting at 7 a.m. EDT.
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.
On a day when the top seven seeds were eliminated, Ogletree, the eighth seed, won four consecutive holes on the outward nine in his 2-and-1 second-round victory over Hammer.
In the third round, Ogletree, this year’s Mississippi Class 2A state medalist, registered back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8 and 9 to build a 4-up cushion against Noah Goodwin, 15, of Corinth, Texas. He made a 10-foot birdie putt before holing a 30-foot chip from just off the green with a 58-degree wedge. He added another birdie by making a 5-foot putt on the par-5 11th.
“I’ve just played average all summer,” Ogletree said. “I am peaking right now. My course management has been better this week. I have made a few putts and hit a lot of fairways and that’s what it comes down to on this golf course.”
Hammer, 15, of Houston, Texas, became the third-youngest player to compete in a U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in June. He advanced to the Round of 32 the previous day ahead of the storms.
“I made a couple of bad mental decisions,” Hammer said about his match with Ogletree. “I didn’t hit the ball as well as I needed on the first six holes. I just didn’t make anything. That’s not going to get you anywhere out here.”
Earlier in the day, Brandon Mancheno, the stroke-play medalist, dropped a 1-up decision in the second round to Turk Pettit, 16, of Auburn, Ala. No. 4 seed Brendan O’Reilly, 16, of Hinsdale, Ill., also was upended by Ivan Camilo Ramirez, 17, of Columbia, 1 up.
Pettit made a pair of 10-foot birdie putts on holes 11 and 13 to gain a 2-up advantage. After winning the par-4 14th with a birdie, Mancheno, 15, of Jacksonville, Fla., could have squared the match on No. 16 but missed a 2-foot par putt that would have won the hole.
Pettit, who claimed the Southern Junior Amateur title in a playoff last month, recovered from an errant tee shot on the 18th hole to defeat the match-play bracket’s top seed. He hooked a 5-iron approach shot around a tree to the right of the green and later made a 6-foot par putt for a clinching halve.
“I hit that as well as I could hit it,” said Pettit, whose father is a golf professional. “I picked a target on the clubhouse and aimed for that, couldn’t ask for better from that spot.”
Mancheno, who shot a pair 69s for a 36-hole score of 138 to earn medalist honors, had defeated Jack Li, 17, of the People’s Republic of China, 4 and 2, in his first-round match.
“I can compete,” said Mancheno, who was playing in his first match-play event and has already qualified for next month’s U.S. Amateur. “It was a good learning experience playing against good players.”
No. 2 seed Viktor Hovland, 17, of Norway and No. 3 seed Travis Vick, 15, of Houston, Texas were both defeated in the first round by players who advanced through a playoff to qualify for match play.
Parker Gillam, 16, of Cary, N.C., built a 4-up lead midway through the inward nine against Hovland before his opponent won three consecutive holes by sandwiching a birdie between two pars. The Norwegian had an opportunity to extend the match to extra holes but lipped out a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
Won Jun Lee, 17, of the Republic of Korea, was 2 up through 12 holes against Pettit in the third round. Lee, who reached the Round of 32 in last year’s U.S. Junior Amateur won his opening-round match in 19 holes and edged Joshua Sedeno, 17, of Roseville, Calif., 1 up, in the next round.
Andy Zhang, 17, of the People’s Republic of China, reached the Junior Amateur quarterfinals last year, but was defeated in the second round by Kristoffer Reitan, 17, of Norway, 4 and 3. Zhang qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open at age 14, the youngest competitor in the championship’s history.
Brian DePasquale is a manager of communications for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.