ERIN, Wis. – UCLA star Patrick Cantlay won two matches Friday at Erin Hills to advance to the U.S. Amateur semifinals, while defending champion Peter Uihlein dropped out in the quarterfinals.
Cantlay beat England’s Tom Lewis, 3 and 1, in the Round of 16, then edged Max Buckley in 19 holes in the afternoon quarterfinals. Jordan Russell beat Uihlein, 2 and 1, to set up a semifinal match with Cantlay.
In the other quarterfinals, Kelly Kraft beat Patrick Rodgers, 6 and 4, and England’s Jack Senior edged Jordan Spieth, 1-up.
After Russell knocked off Uihlein, the Oklahoma State star told the Texas A&M player that he was the most underrated player in college golf.
“That’s pretty cool if he thinks that,” said Russell. “I think I’m maybe a little underrated, but I kind of like it that way. I have my own motivation with that. It kind of keeps me going. So, I’m fine with that.”
Uihlein was trying to become the first player to successfully defend his title since Tiger Woods won three straight from 1994-96.
“I made too many pars. I only birdied the first hole (as did Russell),” Uihlein said. “Jordan played too solid to beat him with pars. I didn’t hit it close enough to put pressure on him and I didn’t make any putts going in.”
Russell was 2-up after six holes, but Uihlein rallied to tie the match with a par 4 on the 12th hole. Russell won the next two holes and Uihlein never recovered.
“I kind of got the momentum early,” Russell said. “He kind of swung it, but I made a 60-footer on 13, so that kind of flipped it right there, and I made birdie on the next hole.”
Cantlay, the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, won the final two holes to tie Lewis, then won with a par on the first extra hole. It was the second extra-hole match for Cantlay in the tournament.
“I don’t know if it’s helping me,” Cantlay said, “but I’ve had to do it. It’s nice to know I can hit good shots coming down to the wire, but I’d love to hit good shots earlier in the match and have the lead.”
Senior has a chance to join Harold Hilton (1911) as the only English winners.
“It would mean a lot to me,” Senior said. “I’m just taking every shot as it comes. I’m not thinking too far ahead.”
Spieth, a two-time U.S. Junior champion from Dallas, led most of the match and was 2-up after winning the par 12th with a birdie. They traded the lead several times and were tied going into the final hole, which Senior won with a par.
“He played great all day, but unfortunately made some mistakes (on the final hole),” Senior said.