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Hammer, Riley advance to Western Amateur semis

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Two down with five holes to play, co-medalist Cole Hammer rallied to defeat Spencer Ralston and advance to the semifinals of the Western Amateur.

Hammer, a freshman at Texas, birdied Sunset Ridge’s 14th hole, made par on 15 to square the match and then pulled ahead with a birdie on 16 to win his match, 1 up.

Hammer will face Stanford’s Brandon Wu in the semifinals, the beginning of a 36-hole Saturday to determine the winner of one of the most prestigious amateur titles of the year.


Western Amateur scoring


Wu never led in his match against Vanderbilt’s John Augenstein until it mattered most – at the end. Wu won the last two holes to push the match to extras, then made par on the 19th hole to take the match.

Alabama standout Davis Riley is the headliner of the other semifinal match. A two-time U.S. Junior runner-up, Riley once again showed his match-play prowess by blowing out his quarterfinal opponent, Hayden Springer, 5 and 4, to punch his ticket to the semis.

Riley will face Georgia Tech’s Tyler Strafaci, who erased a 1-up deficit on the back nine to beat Cal’s Kaiwen Liu, 2 up.

Hammer shot a tournament record 23-under 261 in the four-round stroke-play qualifier, but he narrowly escaped his Round of 16 opponent, needing 20 holes to finish off Alabama’s Davis Shore.