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Watt Advances to Semifinals at U.S. Amateur
While fellow co-medalist Neil Raymond of England fell on Friday to Canada's Corey Conners in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur, Australia's Brady Watt advanced to the semis after beating recently crowned U.S. Junior Amateur champion Scott Scheffler at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
"I was a little bit off both ways with my shots," said Watt, who arrived in the United States for the first time seven weeks ago. "But I hung in there, kind of down the stretch, got it back to 1‑down and then holed a good putt on 15, and then a really good up‑and‑down on the last to close it out."
Raymond didn't play well in his match with Conners, losing 5 and 3 to the Kent State senior and third-team All-American. Conners is the third Kent State player to advance to the U.S. Amateur semifinals, following Ben Curtis in 1999 at Pebble Beach and Ryan Yip in 2006 at Hazeltine.
"I was always on the correct side of the hole," said Conners, the first Canadian to make the U.S. Amateur semifinals since 2006. "There are some treacherous greens out here, and it's really important to have yourself in good positions because you can be not that far from the pin but in nearly impossible places. My ball‑striking was good, drove the ball great, but yeah, just lots of smart decisions, and gave myself lots of chances, but easy pars basically."
"He fought his way around the golf course very well; even when he couldn't quite get to the pin, he left himself on the right side of the greens which is what I didn't do," conceded Raymond, who was playing in his first USGA championship. "He chipped lovely today, he really did."
On Saturday, Conners will face England's Matt Fitzpatrick, who was the low amateur at last month's Open Championship at Muirfield in Scotland. Fitzpatrick beat Alan Ball of Richmond, Va., by a 4-and-3 margin.
Fitzpatrick, who will attend Northwestern University near Chicago this fall, claimed four consecutive holes with three pars and one bogey to break open a tight match against Ball, who is No. 776 in the World Golf Amateur Ranking. Fitzpatrick won holes nine through 12, including the 505-yard ninth, when he chipped from 25 yards to within 3 feet for a par 4.
"That was sort of the turning point because I just sort of switched momentum," said Fitzpatrick, who was the low amateur at last month's British Open Championship and the 2012 British Boys' champion. "That is pretty much the toughest stretch of the golf course, so if you make pars your chances of winning holes is increased."
In the other semifinal match, Watt will go against Oliver Goss of Australia, who vanquished Brandon Matthews of Dupont, Pa., 5 and 3.
The winners of Saturday's semifinals will play for the U.S. Amateur title in Sunday's 36-hole championship match.
For full scoring details, visit http://www.usga.org/Championships.aspx.