U.S. AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Five Things to Watch: Semifinals and Final
May 25, 2016 | Mamaroneck, N.Y.
By Joey Flyntz, USGA
Following Tuesday’s thrilling Round-of-16 and quarterfinal action, a U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champion will be crowned on Wednesday at Winged Foot Golf Club. The day began with the semifinals at 7 a.m. EDT, with the winners advancing to the 18-hole championship match at 1 p.m. Live coverage on FS1 begins at 3 p.m. Here are five things to watch on the final day of action:
After grinding out a hard-fought 1-up victory in the quarterfinals against David Kocher and Connor Tendall, the duo of Patrick Christovich, 37, of New Orleans, La., and Garrett Rank, 28, of Canada, have an advantage when it comes to competing in USGA championships.
Rank was the runner-up in the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur, and advanced to match play in the U.S. Amateur in each of the last two years. Christovich was a quarterfinalist in the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur. Both are competing in their 11th USGA championship.
The rest of the semifinalists have competed in four USGA championships combined.
The 18th green on the East Course has already provided plenty of fireworks this week – Frankie Capan and Benjamin Baxter both made long, clutch putts to stave off elimination and Rank delivered a clutch birdie to eliminate a game Kocher/Tendall side.
An already-difficult hole, the tees could be pushed back to approximately 470 yards to add more intrigue to the dramatic finishing hole. Of course, No. 17 is no pushover, either. An elevated par 3 with little room for error, it played more than 200 yards on Tuesday, with many players having to pitch from the bottom of a steep hill or two-putt on a double-breaking green from long distance just to save par.
While all four sides remaining hope to finish the day by hoisting the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Trophy, no one is leaving empty-handed. All are exempt into next year’s U.S. Amateur Four Ball at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, and the championship side receives a 10-year exemption. Those exemptions require that a respective side remains intact.
Summer is Here
After four days of overcast and occasionally rainy conditions with temperatures in the mid to high 60s, the sun will make its presence felt on Wednesday. There is not a cloud to be seen over the grounds and temperatures are expected to reach the high 80s by the time the championship match tees off. With the sun out in full force, Winged Foot East’s notoriously difficult greens should be even more challenging.
Nothing Like the First Time
No matter which side hoists the trophy at the end of the day, a first-time USGA champion will be crowned. If Christovich and Rank finish it off, it will mark the second straight breakthrough for an experienced mid-amateur side. Last year’s win for Nathan Smith and Todd White marked Smith’s fifth USGA championship title – he has won the U.S. Mid-Amateur four times – but the first for White, who has competed in more than 40 USGA championships.
Joey Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.