In a high-powered match Wednesday at the U.S. Amateur, Thomas Pieters held off Jordan Spieth, 1 up, in the Round of 64 at Cherry Hills.
Pieters, the 2012 NCAA champion from the University of Illinois, pitched in for an eagle-2 on the opening hole and never trailed in the match against Spieth, the world’s third-ranked amateur. Spieth, a sophomore at Texas, missed an 8-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole that would have squared the match, then three-putted from about 60 feet on the last hole.
“It’s been a struggle this summer,” Spieth said of his putting. “I worked really hard the last couple of weeks for moments like that, and it’s kind of a shame that I couldn’t pull it off there.”
It’s been a whirlwind week for Pieters. The Belgian did not play a practice round, and then had to birdie the last three holes in stroke play just to get into a playoff and advance to the match-play portion.
In other matches, top-ranked amateur Chris Williams (Washington) defeated former Dartmouth standout Peter Williamson, 3 and 2. Alabama sophomore Justin Thomas, the reigning NCAA Player of the Year, also advanced to the Round of 32, but will face a tough opponent: Cal senior Max Homa.