World No. 1 amateur reaches U.S. Am quarterfinals

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OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. - Arizona State senior Jon Rahm won two matches Thursday to advance to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals at Olympia Fields.

Rahm, the Spanish player who tops the world amateur ranking, beat Wake Forest freshman Cameron Young of Scarborough, New York, 7 and 6 in the second round, and topped Xavier of Ohio freshman Daniel Wetterich of Cincinnati, 3 and 1 in the third.

''It's a great feeling, especially after all the trouble I went through to make it to match play, having to play a playoff, birdieing 16 and 17 of my regular holes to get into that playoff,'' Rahm said. ''I'm extremely proud of myself how I just pulled it off.''

Rahm will face Virginia junior Derek Bard of New Hartford, New York, on Friday. Bard beat former Vanderbilt player Hunter Stewart of Lexington, Kentucky, 2 and 1 in the third round.

''I love match play,'' Rahm said. ''I feel like match play is the most fun. It's the way you can enjoy your golf the most because you don't get to play it often and it's way different. I feel like each one gets the best out of what they can do. You shoot lower in match play than stroke play, definitely. I feel like you make more birdies. You're more aggressive. It doesn't matter as much if you make a quadruple.''

In the other upper-bracket quarterfinal, Matthew Perrine of Austin, Texas, will play Japan's Kenta Konishi. Perrine transferred to Baylor after a year at Auburn.


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In the round of 16, Perrine beat 37-year-old Todd Mitchell of Bloomington, Illinois, 4 and 3; and Konishi topped Michigan sophomore Kyle Mueller of Watkinsville, Georgia, 2 up.

''It was a long day, but you know, it's one of those days that you just want to keep playing,'' Perrine said. ''You never want to leave the golf course if you don't have to.''

In the lower bracket, NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau of SMU will play former UAB player Paul Dunne of Ireland; and Charleston Southern junior Austin James of Canada will meet Southern California sophomore Sean Crocker of Westlake Village, California.

DeChambeau, from Clovis, California, beat Stanford junior Maverick McNealy of Portola Valley, California, 3 and 2; Dunne edged former Colorado player David Oraee of Greeley, Colorado, 3 and 2.

''I've tried nine times in USGA amateur events, and I've qualified for match play in every single one of them and gotten to the quarterfinals only in the Public Links last year,'' DeChambeau said. ''So to make it to the quarterfinals in the Amateur is pretty special.''

Dunne tied for 30th in the British Open after sharing the 54-hole lead.

''I've tried nine times in USGA amateur events, and I've qualified for match play in every single one of them and gotten to the quarterfinals only in the Public Links last year,'' DeChambeau said. ''So to make it to the quarterfinals in the Amateur is pretty special.''

Crocker outlasted Alabama junior Robby Shelton of Wilmer, Alabama, in 20 holes. Shelton made a 22-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to square the match, then missed a 2-foot par putt on the 20th.

''I didn't expect that one little bit,'' Crocker said. ''I expected to be playing another hole, and then I just kind of - I was watching it, and I saw him just look up and not reach for the hole, and I saw my caddie just kind of wave me up. I didn't even believe it. I didn't think it was going to happen.''

James beat UCLA senior Jake Knapp of Costa Mesa, California, 2 and 1.