U.S. AMATEUR
Round of 16 Recap: Meyer Beats Horsfield Again to Reach Quarters August 18, 2016 | Bloomfield Township, Mich. By Pete Kowalski, USGA

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Meet the Quarterfinalists

University of Illinois junior Dylan Meyer, 21, of Evansville, Ind., defeated stroke-play medalist Alex Smalley and Sam Horsfield on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the 116th U.S. Amateur Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club.

Meyer, the 2016 Western Amateur champion, beat Smalley, of Wake Forest, N.C., 4 and 3, in the morning Round of 32; and edged Horsfield, No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™, in 19 holes in the Round of 16.

In the victory over Horsfield, which was a rematch of the Western Amateur final earlier this summer, Meyer holed a critical 10-foot par putt on the 18th hole to extend the match.

“It was pretty stressful,” said Meyer, a 2016 honorable-mention All-America selection. “I knew that there was a lot of heat on it, and I knew that I had to make it to extend the match. As coach (Mike Small, head coach at Illinois) preaches, we own 10-footers, we own 6-footers, we own these putts that put us in these positions, and as a good player, you're going to be in these positions. You have to be clutch, and it's how you respond.”

He closed out Horsfield, a University of Florida sophomore who played in the 2015 and 2016 U.S. Opens, with a par on the first extra hole.

Despite yielding several pounds, inches and yards off the tee to Horsfield and most of his opponents, Meyer’s game defined giant-killer on the South course, host of six U.S. Opens and nicknamed “The Monster” by Ben Hogan in his 1951 victory.

“I'm a lot tougher than what I give myself credit for,” Meyer answered when asked what he learned about himself. “In these situations, it's one of those things that you dream of. Growing up, you watched Tiger (Woods) playing in majors and you watched all these guys make all these clutch putts, and you're like, wow, I want to be able to do that. Can I do that? And, just that putt there really showed that I can do these things.”

In beating Smalley, who shot 7-under-par 133 in stroke play to tie for the second-lowest 36-hole score in the history of the championship, Meyer never trailed and was the equivalent of 4 under par with the usual match-play concessions in 15 holes.

With plenty of local support, University of Michigan sophomore Nick Carlson won two extra-hole matches on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

Meyer, who was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2016, will oppose University of Michigan sophomore Nick Carlson, 19, of Hamilton, Mich., in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Carlson, the only player remaining from the host state, advanced with two 19-hole victories, riding the support of the local spectators.

“It was unreal,” Carlson said. “I can't even describe it. There were so many people on this last hole. I was feeding off them on 18. My caddie told me to slow down and breathe on No.1 tee (of the playoff). Luckily enough we did, and I didn't really realize how amazing it was to have this big of a crowd until that last putt went in. Just to look out and see people three-deep all around the green, it was pretty special.”

In the Round of 16, Carlson, playing in his first USGA championship, defeated University of California junior KK Limbhasut, of Thailand, after beating Scott Gregory, of England, the No.9 seed and the winner of the 2016 Amateur Championship, conducted by The R&A.

The admittedly emotional Carlson realizes the new territory he faces.

“I can't even put it to words,” said Carlson. “Sure, everyone is trying to win this, but I was just trying to get to match play, and now I'm in the elite eight.”

The other quarterfinal matches are: Pepperdine University sophomore Sahith Theegala, 18, of Chino Hills, Calif., against Curtis Luck, 20, of Australia; University of Southern California junior Jonah Texeira, 20, of Porter Ranch, Calif., against Louisiana State University sophomore Luis Gagne, 18, of Orlando, Fla.; and 2016 Stanford University graduate David Boote, 22, of Wales, against Oklahoma University sophomore Brad Dalke, 18, of Norman, Okla.

In addition to Smalley and Gregory, the other highest-seeded players to be eliminated in the Round of 32 were No. 2 Dawson Armstrong, of Brentwood, Tenn.; No. 5 Davis Riley, of Hattiesburg, Miss.; and No. 7 Wyndham Clark, of Highlands Ranch, Colo.

The South Course is playing to a par of 35-35-70 and 7,334 yards.

All quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., Aug. 14-20.

The 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play, followed by six rounds of match play, concluding with Sunday’s 36-hole championship.

The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Pete Kowalski is the director of championship communications for the USGA. Email him at pkowalski@usga.org.

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