U.S. AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Matthews and Ross Are Medalists at U.S. Amateur Four-Ball
May 22, 2016 | MAMARONECK, N.Y.
By Brian DePasquale
Former Temple University teammates Brandon Matthews and Patrick Ross carded their second consecutive 7-under-par 63 Sunday to record a 36-hole stroke-play total of 14-under 126 to win medalist honors by two strokes in the 2016 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club. The par-70, 6,728-yard East Course and par-70, 7,033-yard West Course were both used during the stroke-play portion of the championship.
Matthews, 21, of Dupont, Pa., and Ross, 24, of Dunmore, Pa., birdied three of the last four holes on the West Course, which has hosted five U.S. Opens. Matthews, who became the first Temple player to earn All-America recognition since 1988 and advanced to the 2013 U.S. Amateur quarterfinals, set up his team’s birdies on holes 15 and 16. He lofted a 60-degree wedge to within 3 feet on the par-4 15th and delivered a 122-yard gap wedge to within tap-in range on the following hole. Ross holed a 30-footer for another birdie on No. 17.
“Closing like we did today was really cool, especially on one of the most historic finishes in golf,” said Matthews, who formed a relationship with Ross on the high school level in the Scranton, Pa., area, which led to the duo competing in last year’s inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Ross, who transferred to Temple after originally attending the University of Hartford, and Matthews closed strong like they did in firing a 5-under 30 on the inward nine during the first day of stroke play.
“We wanted to make them two events,” said Ross about stroke play and the upcoming match-play bracket. “We feel like we won this event and now tomorrow is a clean slate. Just try to play how we did the last two days: free and comfortable.”
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by five rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with an 18-hole final on Wednesday, May 25, starting at 1 p.m. EDT.
The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Scott Harvey, 37, of Greensboro, N.C., and Todd Mitchell, 37, of Bloomington, Ill., matched the championship’s best score on the West Course with a 7-under 63 and joined Drew Allenspach, 29, of Louisville, Ky., and Matthew Van Zandt, 30, of Houston, Texas, with a two-round total of 12-under 128.
Harvey and Mitchell, who reached the semifinals of last year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, know they have more work ahead.
“We knew that there was some unfinished business,” said Mitchell, who advanced to the Round of 16 in last year’s U.S. Amateur. “We have been looking forward to this for almost a year. There is motivation beyond just where we are at now.”
Mitchell, who was once a shortstop in the New York Yankees’ farm system, helped his team reel off four consecutive birdies on holes 3 through 7. He hit a 9-iron to within a foot on No. 4 and later got up and down for another birdie on the short par-4 sixth. Harvey, who was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team, finished off the round with a 13-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
Allenspach and Van Zandt, who work for a college golf ministry, followed their opening-round 63 with a 65 on the East Course. Allenspach sank a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 14 before Van Zandt set up their fourth birdie on the inward nine with a 160-yard, 6-iron approach to within close range on the par-4 16th.
“I think we were kind of nervous because we were up with the leaders,” said Van Zandt, who helped Texas A&M University claim the 2009 NCAA title. “We haven’t even come close to making match play at a USGA event before, but we able to calm it down and I was proud how we handled it mentally.”
Patrick Christovich, 37, of New Orleans, La., and Garrett Rank, 28, of Canada, posted their second consecutive 65 to finish at 10-under 130. Christovich, who has won three Louisiana Mid-Amateur Championships, chipped in for par on No. 6 and sank a 10-footer for birdie on the following hole as the team carded a 4-under 31 over the outward nine.
At 9-under-par 131 were Northwestern University teammates Andrew Whalen, 22, of Ephrata, Wash., and Dylan Wu, 19, of Medford, Ore., and Maryland natives Nick Barrett, 22, of Marriottsville, and Connor Flach, 20, of Ellicott City. Barrett and Flach accounted for eight birdies and two bogeys en route to a 6-under 64 on the East Course.
Wu, who tied for sixth at this month’s NCAA Regionals, and Whalen, who advanced to the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur quarterfinals, where he lost to eventual champion Jordan Spieth, shot a 1-under 69 on the West Course after grabbing the first-round lead with a championship-record 62.
“We got off to a slow start and made some mental errors at the beginning,” said Wu, who made birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8. “The conditions were definitely tougher, especially playing in the morning. We still managed to shoot under par, which is pretty good on this golf course.”
Matthew Finger, 38, of Woolwich Township, N.J., and Michael Korcuba, 46, of Sicklerville, N.J., also turned in a 62 to advance to match play. Their second-round score was 10 strokes better than the previous day. Korcuba got his team off to a good start when his 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 second stopped on the edge and fell in the hole. He later sank a 12-foot uphill putt on No. 13, the team’s fourth consecutive birdie.
Defending champions Nathan Smith, 37, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Todd White, 48, of Spartanburg, S.C., safely advanced to the match-play bracket by following a first-round 67 with a 2-under 68. Smith and White, who were members of the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team, had three birdies and one bogey on the East Course.
A day after White made a hole-in-one, Patrick Moore, 33, of Scottsdale, Ariz., registered the second hole-in-one of the championship and fourth in the history of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. Moore aced the par-3 sixth hole on the East Course with a 6-iron from 184 yards.
Following the conclusion of stroke play, six sides were tied a 3-under-par 137, so a 6-for-2 playoff will begin Monday at 7:30 a.m. EDT on the West Course to determine the final two sides that advance to match play. Match play will be conducted on the East Course.
Brian DePasquale is the USGA’s manager of championship communications. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.