U.S. AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Five Groupings to Watch May 16, 2016 | FAR HILLS, N.J. By David Shefter, USGA

Scott Harvey (left) and Todd Mitchell will hope to build on their semifinal performance in the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. (USGA/Darren Carroll)

Following last year’s debut at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship will again be played at one of the game’s historic venues: Winged Foot Golf Club, in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Stroke play for the 128 two-man sides will take place on both the East Course and West Course, with each side playing 18 holes on one course on May 21 and 18 on the other on May 22. The low 32 sides will advance to match play – all matches will be played on the East Course – beginning on May 23 and concluding with the semifinals and 18-hole championship match on May 25. The final two days will be televised on FS1.

One of the most popular formats played at golf courses nationwide, four-ball consists of two-person sides, with each member of a side playing their own ball and the better score counting as the team’s score for the hole. Part of the fun of four-ball play is seeing which sides have their games and minds in sync to be among the 32 to make it to match play. There are several notable groupings to keep an eye on during stroke play. (All times EDT)

Nathan Smith and Todd White/Kyle George and Steve Mena
West Course #1 Tee 7:54 a.m. May 21/East Course #1 Tee 11:18 a.m. May 22

Four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Smith, 37, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and White, 48, of Spartanburg, S.C., will begin defense of their title on the first hole of the famed West Course, the site of five U.S. Opens. The two friends were also teammates on the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team, and last May they rolled to a 7-and-5 victory in the championship match of the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They are grouped with Pasadena, Calif., residents George and Mena.

Sean Maruyama and Clay Seeber/Justin Arcano and Justin Ngan
East Course #1 Tee 11:54 a.m. May 21/West Course #1 Tee 8:30 a.m. May 22

The youngest team in the field features 15-year-old California natives Maruyama, of Los Angeles, and Seeber, of Newport Beach. Maruyama is the son of three-time PGA Tour winner Shigeki Maruyama, who shot a 58 during 2000 U.S. Open sectional qualifying on Woodmont Country Club’s South Course in Rockville, Md., and tied for fourth in the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. They are grouped with 17-year-old Hawaii natives Arcano and Ngan, both of Wailuku. The younger Maruyama, a sophomore at Campbell High, won the 2015 Southern California Junior Amateur, while Seeber, a freshman at Corona del Mar High, qualified for match play in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur.

Tim Mickelson and Jake Yount/Drew Allenspach and Matthew Van Zandt
West Course #1 tee 7:30 a.m. May 21/East Course #1 Tee 10:54 a.m. May 22

Mickelson, 38, of Tempe, Ariz., the younger brother of 1990 U.S. Amateur champion and five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, has again teamed with Yount, 29, of Danville, Calif. Mickelson recruited Yount to the University of San Diego, where he earned 2008 West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors. Mickelson has since moved on to become the head men’s golf coach at Arizona State University. Last year at The Olympic Club, the side reached the Round of 16. Allenspach, 29, of Louisville, Ky., and Van Zandt, 30, of Houston, Texas, are both involved in the College Golf Fellowship.

Cole Hammer and Walker Lee/David Kocher and Connor Tendall
West Course #1 Tee 9:54 a.m. May 21/East Course #1 Tee 1:18 p.m. May 22

Last June at Chambers Bay, Hammer became the third-youngest player to compete in the U.S. Open. This year, the 16-year-old will partner with fellow Houston resident Lee, 18, who advanced to match play in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur after posting a 64 in sectional qualifying. Hammer followed up his missed cut in the U.S. Open by reaching the Round of 32 in the U.S. Junior Amateur and qualifying for match play in the U.S. Amateur.

Richard Berkmeyer and Brad Nurski/Daniel Day and Benjamin Day
West Course #1 Tee 11:30 a.m. May 21/East Course 8:06 a.m. May 22

Missouri natives Berkmeyer, 42, of St. Louis, and Nurski, 37, of St. Joseph, are no strangers to USGA championships. The owner of a trophy/awards business, Berkmeyer has competed in 27 and the left-handed Nurski, a conductor and switchman for a railroad company, was the runner-up in the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur and advanced to the Round of 32 in last year’s U.S. Amateur. Berkmeyer and Nurski advanced to match play in last year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball, as did the Day brothers. Both teams will be looking to improve on their Round-of-32 efforts at The Olympic Club. Daniel Day, 31, of Cheshire, Conn., played on the 2005 NCAA Division III title team at Guilford College in North Carolina, while his brother Benjamin, 35, of North Haven, Conn., advanced to match play in the 1998 U.S. Junior Amateur and 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Scott Harvey and Todd Mitchell/Frankie Capan and Shuai Ming Wong
East Course #1 Tee 1:30 p.m. May 21/West Course #1 Tee 10:06 a.m. May 22

Harvey, 37, of Greensboro, N.C., who won the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur, and his partner Mitchell, 37, of Bloomington, Ill., hope to improve upon their emotional 19-hole semifinal match defeat last year. Mitchell, a former minor league infielder in the New York Yankees system, reached the Round of 16 of the U.S. Amateur, while Harvey was selected to the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team. Mid-amateurs Harvey and Mitchell will play alongside the second-youngest side in the field in Capan and Wong, both of whom are 16 years old.

David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at dshefter@usga.org.

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