7th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Home
U.S. AMATEUR FOUR-BALL
Future SEC Rivals Team Up for Record 61 in Birmingham
May 14, 2022 | Birmingham, Ala.
By David Shefter, USGA
Over the next four years, Carter Loflin and Wells Williams will be heated rivals in the Southeastern Conference at the University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University, respectively.
But at the 7th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship this week at the Country Club of Birmingham, they get to play on the same team, and on Saturday they set a record. On a gorgeous day in central Alabama that was briefly interrupted by a late-afternoon thunderstorm, the two 18-year-olds carded a 9-under-par 61 on the 6,611-yard East Course to establish an 18-hole championship scoring record.
The previous mark of 62 had been achieved by nine sides, most recently by three sides in the 2021 championship at Chambers Bay and The Home Course.
The East and West courses at the Country Club of Birmingham are being utilized for the 36 holes of stroke play, with all of the matches being contested on the West.
“I was really thinking about a 57 at one point, to be honest with you,” said Williams, a three-time American Junior Golf Association All-American from West Point, Miss., who was a member of the 2021 USA Junior Ryder Cup Team. “We didn’t hit the ball bad coming in. We just didn’t hit it to 10-15 feet.”
Loflin and Williams, who have been friends for a decade, started their round like Steph Curry, making five consecutive 3s – four birdies and a par – and the duo was 9 under through 11 holes. A minor hiccup on the 440-yard 12th led to a bogey. Loflin, of Duluth, Ga., a two-time champion of the Press Thornton Junior Masters in Dothan, Ala., hit his tee shot into the creek and Williams three-putted from 25 feet. The duo cashed in one final birdie on 17.
“We kept stealing putts from each other,” said Loflin of their sizzling start. “It happened a few different times. One of us would stick it to about 5 feet, but then the other would roll one in from about 20 feet. We were both giving each other [birdie] looks all day.”
Evan Beck, 31, of Virginia Beach, Va., had not been back to Alabama since his runner-up finish in the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur final at nearby Shoal Creek, and the good Birmingham-area vibes continued on Saturday. The Wake Forest graduate and his former assistant coach at Wake, Dan Walters, 37, of Winston-Salem, N.C., nearly matched Loflin and Williams. Both had birdie putts inside 20 feet on the par-4 18th of the East Course but settled for a par and a 62.
Andrew Von Lossow, 34, of Spokane, Wash., and Sean Langham, 25, of Australia; former Lipscomb University teammates Blanton Farmer, 31, of Bradenton, Fla., and Ryan Terry, 30, of Nashville, Tenn.; and a pair of 44-year-olds from San Diego, Calif., Paul Becker and Tim Tiel, also had 62s on the East Course.
Beck and Walters, both reinstated amateurs, birdied seven of their first 11 holes, and added an eighth at the 393-yard 17th.
“I don’t know what it is about this place,” said Beck of his good play in the area. “It’s a great town, great food [and I have a] great partner.
“Our personalities are perfect for one another. He’s a calming influence, which is important to me.”
Von Lossow registered five second-nine birdies to lead a late surge. The Eastern Washington University graduate, who is a graphic designer for an apparel company, also birdied No. 2 and rolled in a 30-foot eagle on the 480-yard, par-5 sixth. Langham, an insurance agent in Boise, Idaho, who played two seasons at the University of Idaho, added a birdie on No. 1. The two are making their first USGA start after gaining entry as the first alternates from the Nampa, Idaho, qualifying site.
Farmer and Terry made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine to close the inward side at 5-under 30. Tiel and Becker had perfect symmetry in their round with four birdies on each side.
Greenville, S.C., residents Chris Eassy, 45, and Jeremy Revis, 43, were another stroke back with a 63, as were last-minute alternates Drew Kittelson and Drew Stoltz, who played 5-under golf on the inward nine of the East Course.
Torey Edwards, a 40-year-old left-hander from Long Beach, Calif., and Bret Parker, 42 of Alpine, Utah, produced the lowest score on the 7,166-yard, par-71 West Course, a 6-under-par 65. After a 2-under outward nine, the duo registered four birdies coming, including a stretch of three in a row from No. 13.
Brandon Cigna, 36, of Alexandria, Va., and Ben Warnquist, 29, of Gaithersburg, Md., the runners-up in 2016, came in with 5-under 66s, along with Kory Bowman, 51, of Springfield, Mo., and Jason Schultz, 49, of Allen, Texas, a reinstated amateur who won the 2005 Chattanooga Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour. Also posting 66s on the West Course were the father/son tandem of Brad and Cooper Wayment, of Mesa, Ariz., and Andrew Sullivan, of Louisville, Ky., and Davis Woodliff, of Tulsa, Okla.
Each of the 128 sides will play one more round of stroke play on Sunday with the low 32 scorers advancing to match play, which begins on Monday. Should a playoff be necessary to determine the final spots in the draw, it would take place Monday morning on holes 10, 11 and 16 of the East Course.
- Play was suspended for 54 minutes late Saturday afternoon due to a thunderstorm.
- Twenty-five of the top 30 rounds were registered on the East Course.
- Wells Williams’ grandfather, George Bryan, founded Old Waverly Golf Club and neighboring Mossy Oak Club in West Point, Miss. Old Waverly was the site of the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open, won by 2022 USGA Bob Jones Award winner Juli Inkster. Meghan Stasi also won the first of her four U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur titles in 2006 and Gabriela Ruffels claimed the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur there.
- Due to scheduling conflicts with the upcoming NCAA Division I regionals, four players competed as solo sides in Saturday’s first round, and a fifth will be solo for Sunday’s second round. Ryan Smith’s partner, Cameron Huss (Wisconsin), qualified for regionals as an individual. Ditto for Lafayette College’s Kazuki Osawa, whose partner, Ryan Tall, also qualified for regionals. Chris Vandette helped Kent State to the Mid-America Conference title and a spot in regionals, so his partner, Jared Wilson, an incoming freshman at Wake Forest, is a solo side. Nathan Cogswell (Seattle University) also is headed to regionals as an individual, leaving Colt Sherrill (University of Idaho) as a solo. On Sunday, Ben Carpenter, will return to New Haven, Conn., where Yale is hosting a regional, so he could only play Saturday’s first round with fellow Yale golfer Robert You, who is not on the postseason roster. Carpenter and You posted a 5-under 65 on the East Course.
- Peter Bourdon also played solo on Saturday when his partner and former Middlebury College teammate, Matthew Virtue, attended a wedding that was unexpectedly rescheduled. Virtue will be on-site to play Round 2 on Sunday.
- Seven players in this year’s field competed in the two previous USGA championships at the Country Club of Birmingham: the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur and the 2016 USGA Men’s State Team, the last edition of that event. Those seven are Kenny Cook, Steven Groover, Scott Harvey, Philip Lee, Todd Mitchell, Nathan Smith and Todd White. In the 2013 Mid-Am, Harvey had a walk-off eagle 2 on the par-4 18th hole in the Round of 64 against Mitch Mercer.
- The only two past champion sides in the field both were under par on the West Course. Smith and White (2015) carded a 67, while Mitchell and Harvey (2019) posted a 70.
- Clay Guerin from nearby Hoover, Ala., had the honor of hitting the first tee shot on the West Course. He and fellow Alabaman Ty Cole (Albertville) posted a 1-under-par 70. Guerin is quite familiar with the venue as he competes in the club’s annual National Invitation Tournament. He is an Auburn graduate but didn’t play for the Tigers.
- Alabama teens Ward Harris (Vestavia Hills) and Jackson Mitchell (Athens) opened with a 3-under 67 on the East Course.
- Speaking of the Tigers, ex-Auburn teammates Steven Groover and M. Tyler McKeever posted a 4-under-par 66 on the East Course.
- Drew Kittelson was the runner-up to Danny Lee in the 2008 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst, while Drew Stoltz is a recently reinstated amateur who has a Sirius/XM Radio show on the PGA Tour Network with two-time USGA champion Colt Knost called “Gravy and The Sleaze.”
“I guess we won’t be talking anymore after this [championship].” – Carter Loflin with a smile, when asked about being a future SEC rival with partner Wells Williams
“We were joking around out there. We’ve played where you get too serious. When do you ever play well when you’re going to be that serious? That’s not our style. That’s when you know you’re trying too hard.” – Andrew Von Lossow on what makes his partnership with Australian Sean Langham work, despite the nine-year difference in age
“I was thinking if we can birdie half the holes, we’ll be in a good spot. We almost got there. [But] we can’t go out there and sleepwalk tomorrow [on the West Course].” – Dan Walters after shooting 62 on the East Course with partner Evan Beck
“I won’t even look at the leader board because it doesn’t really matter at this point. The only goal is to make match play.” – Bret Parker, who is partnering with Torey Edwards, on the side’s mindset during stroke play
“We’ve been good buddies for a long time. [Bret] chased the [professional golf] dream for many years (reinstated as an amateur in 2016), so I’m confident in him. He has three kids under the age of 6, so he doesn’t get to play as much golf as I do. We know one another so well that we don’t beat ourselves down.” – Edwards on his partnership with Parker
“We’re old. Nothing is easy for us so we’re going to keep grinding.” – 2015 Four-Ball champion Nathan Smith, 43, on the challenge of qualifying for match play with 54-year-old partner Todd White
“We figured if we played good today and just played normal tomorrow [on the West Course], we’d be there. That was the game plan and we played great.” – Jeffrey Castle when asked about the strategy to qualify for match play after shooting 6-under 64 with partner William Wingerd
“At 7 a.m. I wasn’t really awake enough to embrace it all. At a USGA event, you get a little nervous, but today I didn’t quite feel that. I told people all week it’s weird to play an event of this magnitude in your hometown. I even got a hotel room last night just to get away and try to get in that [championship] mindset.” – Clay Guerin, of Hoover, Ala., on hitting the first tee shot of the championship on the West Course.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.
The Social Scene
Carter Loflin made this putt to seal a historic round in Birmingham.— USGA (@USGA) May 14, 2022
He and partner Wells Williams fired a 9-under 61 to set the #USFourBall 18-hole scoring record 🙌
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Best of luck to all of our golfers representing Indiana at the 2022 #USFourBall this weekend in Mountain Brook, Alabama! @USGA— Indiana Golf (@IndianaGolf) May 14, 2022
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The first USGA National Championship of the year for men begins today in Alabama with the #USFourBall. Six Kentuckians are competing, including two all-Kentucky teams. Mark these groups as your favorites on the leaderboard and follow along!— Golf House KY ⛳️🏠 (@GolfHouseKY) May 14, 2022
Connecticut will be well represented this week at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball #csga #csgalinks #USFourBall #usga— CSGA (@CSGALinks) May 13, 2022
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