In a shocking finish to the 112th U.S. Amateur, Steven Fox won the last two holes, then drained a 20-foot birdie on the first extra hole Sunday to stun Michael Weaver and win the 36-hole final match at Cherry Hills.
Weaver had a chance to win on the 36th hole, but his 6-foot par putt spun around the cup and rimmed out. It was the first time the match had been all square since the sixth hole, some eight hours earlier.
On the first extra hole, the short par-4 first at Cherry Hills, Weaver’s drive sailed way left, near another tee box, and he was unable to reach the green with his second shot. Fox, meanwhile, found the fairway with a long iron, stuck his approach to 20 feet, and then buried the birdie putt to win in dramatic fashion.
With the victory, Fox, a senior at UT-Chattanooga, earned exemptions into the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship, provided he remains an amateur. (Weaver, a redshirt junior at Cal, received invites to Augusta and Merion, too.)
“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Fox said on the NBC broadcast. “This is unreal.”
Both players survived a 17-for-14 playoff just to advance to the 64-player match-play portion of the championship. Fox and Weaver were the 63rd and 60th seeds, respectively, and the 21-year-old Fox became the first player since Edoardo Molinari (2005) to go from match-play playoff to Amateur champion. At No. 63, Fox also became the lowest seed ever to win.
Despite winning the first two holes of the morning session, Fox was 2 down as he headed to lunch. In the afternoon, he lost the 16th hole to go 2 down with two to play, but made an 8-foot birdie putt on 17, then had a two-putt par from 40 feet on the last green.
Fox became only the ninth player to win the U.S. Amateur after trailing following the morning session.
“I fought all day,” Fox said. “I had to keep pushing and try to make birdie.”