Six rounds of golf over five days have boiled the 115th U.S. Amateur Championship down to four semifinalists.
And if Friday at Olympia Fields Country Club’s North Course is an indication, the pressure should continue to build. Three of the four quarterfinal matches went to the 18th hole before being decided, and the fourth went to the 16th hole.
While the Havemeyer Trophy is Sunday's ultimate prize, the semifinal winners will receive exemptions into the 2016 U.S. Open (if they remain amateurs) and the 2016-18 U.S. Amateurs. Also, they likely will receive an invitation to the 2016 Masters.
Here is a look at Saturday's semifinal matches, with the player’s match-play seeding in parentheses:
8 a.m. CDT: Kenta Konishi, Japan (17) vs. Derek Bard, New Hartford, N.Y. (45)
Konishi, 21, continues to advance quietly through the match-play bracket in his first USGA championship. He defeated Matthew Perrine, 1 up, in Friday’s first quarterfinal match.
Konishi, who does not attend college in the United States and is No. 632 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ – the lowest ranking of the four semifinalists – has displayed a well-rounded game to this point.
Asked to describe the strengths of his game, Konishi was succinct.
“Nothing special,” he said through a translator. “I play all around equally. So that one, I think that is my strength. I can do everything well.”
Prior to this week’s run, the biggest win for Konishi was the 2010 Junior Open, conducted by The R&A, in Fife, Scotland.
Similar to Konishi, Derek Bard, 20, a rising junior at the University of Virginia, continues to establish himself this week.