U.S. SENIOR AMATEUR
Notable Quotes from Round-of-32 Winners August 29, 2017 | Minneapolis, Minn. By USGA

Keith Decker, of Martinsville, Va., rallied from 3 down to defeat Gene Elliott, thanks to a chip-in birdie on No. 15 and a winning par on No. 18. (USGA/Chris Keane) 

Some quotes from winners in Tuesday morning’s Round of 32 in the 63rd U.S. Senior Amateur at The Minikahda Club:

Sean Knapp, of Oakmont, Pa., who defeated Scott Thomas, 6 and 5:

“[Five-time USGA champion] Nathan Smith and I are good friends. At the end of the day, I’ve watched him go about his business. Even though it’s my first Senior Am, I’ve played in a lot of Mid-Ams, U.S. Ams, and there’s a formula. You can’t always accomplish it, but it’s about playing solid golf, and forcing your opponent to make mistakes, and try to not give any holes away, and I did a good job of that today.”

“No. 6 was a really good hole. I was 1 up at that point. A good par 3, pin was in the back. I hit it to about 6 feet. Scott hit it long and left, and hit a pretty good chip, but he still had 20 feet. But he made [the putt]; you always expect your opponent to make it. Then I made it, and everything went from there.”

 

 

David Nocar, of Millersville, Md., who defeated Claud Cooper, 4 and 3:

“Claud played really well yesterday and he was fighting it a bit today. I didn’t make a lot of birdies but I hit a lot of greens. My iron play is getting better and better every round, so I feel like I’m playing better. I ended with a birdie so I ended with a high note. I started feeling really good about my game.”

“Some par-4 tees have been moved forward, so the option of trying to drive the green is there. The interesting and exciting thing, you’ll have the option to drive the green, but if you get out of position, just making a par is difficult.”

Chip Lutz, of Reading, Pa., who defeated Don Donatoni, 5 and 4:

“I’m still not feeling like I’m at the top of my game yet. I managed to stay pretty steady in terms of scoring, so I held him off. I hope I’ll continue to gain some momentum on my game as I go here, because I better find it soon.”

“These were tough pins today and the course played difficult. A lot of strategy involved with the approach off the tee. Very challenging in terms of scoring. I don’t know that there were that many birdies out there today.”

“We’ll see how we go. I had one of my best friends early, Dave Nelson, and Don [Donatoni] is a good friend from Philadelphia. And now I’ve got Paul [Simson], and he’s a good friend. It’s fun but yet it’s tough when you’re friends and people you hang with a lot, but I’m sure we’ll still be friends after.”

Ken Lee, of Franklin, Tenn., who defeated Mark Coward, 4 and 3:

“I just played steady. Mark got off to kind of a rough start, I just played solid golf. I didn’t make any real bad mistakes, and kind of just kept the ball in play.”

“I hit a good shot in on No. 14. Mark had already played, and I knew he was in a rough position, he had short-sided himself. I hit a real solid 6-iron to about 15 feet. That was the turning point; that was when I knew that I had it closed out, almost.”

Frank Vana, of Boxford, Mass., who defeated Bryan Norton, 1 up:

“They had some pins tucked today, for sure, and it feels like you had to hit it pretty close to make some putts. It’s not flat; there are some slopes… so it was hard to really get close.”

“It’s great to back in a USGA event. My buddy Jack Kearney, who lost yesterday, caddied for me, which was a huge help. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. It was a good match; someone had to win and luckily it was my turn, I guess.”

“I feel like I had been playing well, but when I got here I was hitting it a little loosely. I’m getting a little more comfortable, hitting solid shots, trying to pace myself and hopefully stay in the groove.”

Keith Decker, of Martinsville, Va., who rallied to defeat Gene Elliott, 1 up, after trailing by 3 holes:

“I made an unbelievable chip-in on No. 15, one that goes in maybe one out of 100 times, and I wound up winning the hole. It looked like he was going to win it, so it was one of those reversal things.”

“He’s a better player than me, I just got lucky coming in. I’m happy to be going on. He hit a great putt [for par on No. 18], but he hit it just a little too firm, otherwise we’d be going down No. 1 right now.”

John McClure, of Los Angeles, Calif., who defeated medalist David Brown, 3 and 2:

“It wasn’t great golf; we both made some mistakes, but I made fewer than he did and came out on top. Then again, nobody’s out there playing 3 under. On No. 13, he hit a pretty good shot, but it came off the front of the green and rolled back down the fairway.”

“It’s nice to beat the medalist, because usually they fall pretty hard.”

Matt Sughrue, of Arlington, Va., who defeated John Fisher, 4 and 3:

“It’s a good match-play course. You need to drive the ball in play, because the rough is problematic and you’re generally going to be blocked out by trees. There are a lot of blind second shots, and it takes a little time to get used to picking spots in the distance and aiming at them. It’s a little different from what I normally play back home.”

“The greens are not that fast right now because of all the rain, so they’re very puttable. If it were to dry out, that would be a dimension for match play that we don’t have right now.”

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