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Teenagers Orischak, Redman Learn on Fly at Winged Foot

By Bill Fields

| May 22, 2016 | MAMARONECK, N.Y.

Doc Redman (left) and Andrew Orischak are enjoying their first taste of golf in the Northeast. (USGA/Fred Vuich)

U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Home

Twenty minutes after completing the first round of stroke play in the 2nd U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, Andrew Orischak stood near the 18th green of Winged Foot Golf Club’s West Course, watching as another group wrapped up its day. 

“Holy cow, what a good course,” Orischak said, looking toward the 452-yard, par-4 finishing hole.

And it had been good to Orischak, runner-up in the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur, and his partner, Doc Redman, as well on Saturday. 

The teenaged team – Orischak, 17, and Redman, 18, each of whom is starting college in the fall – birdied the last three holes to shoot a 3-under 67 to put themselves in solid position to contend for a spot in the 32-team match-play field.

Redman, a Raleigh, N.C., resident who recently won the North Carolina 4A high school individual title, sank birdie putts of 20 and 15 feet on Nos. 16 and 17. After hitting a 7-iron to 15 feet on No. 18, Orischak made it three in a row.

“It was such a grind out there for us today,” Orischak said. “As the round went on, we were telling each other to be patient. Our goal was to try and get under par. It was looking pretty grim for a while, but the finish really helped.”

Regardless of how Orischak and Redman play the rest of the way, it has already been an experience they won’t soon forget. Orischak, of Hilton Head Island, S.C., had never traveled to the Northeast before. Redman has been to New York City a couple of times but also hadn’t played golf in the metropolitan area prior to the Four-Ball.

“I can’t imagine it gets any more beautiful than this,” Redman said of Winged Foot, which has hosted the U.S. Open five times.

The side has had fun trying to solve the challenges at Winged Foot, from the slick, steeply pitched putting surfaces to how to play shots from the tall, thick rough around the greens that is so different from what they’re used to in the South.

“The greenside rough is the hardest thing to get used to, the way it grabs the club,” Orischak said. “In the bermudagrass back home, you can just pop it and the ball comes out nice and easy. But here it comes out so dead. You really have to accelerate through the shot.”

Orischak and Redman experimented with a few different techniques for chips and pitches, settling on something that works for them.

“We’re hinging the club quickly going back,” Orischak said, “then having the leading edge opening on the way through, with a finish low and left.”

Figuring out new shots is just part of a young golfer’s education. Orischak, who will attend the University of Virginia in the fall, received a huge lesson in the final of last year’s U.S. Junior. Orischak lost to Philip Barbaree despite being 5 up with eight holes to play at Colleton River Plantation Club’s Dye Course not far from his home.

“I definitely learned a lot,” Orischak said. “I’d never been in a position like that and learned from it. I’m sure I’ll do better next time.”

Redman is off to Clemson University in August, the Four-Ball one of a handful of tournaments on his schedule until he becomes a member of the Tigers' golf team.

“If Andrew goes out and shoots a good score and I do the same, things are going to take care of themselves for the team,” Redman said.

Bill Fields is a Connecticut-based freelance writer who contributes regularly to USGA websites.