BROOKLINE, Mass. – It’s already been an eventful week for Patrick Rodgers, which usually signals trouble at a tournament as cutthroat as the U.S. Amateur.
Not so, however, for the U.S. Walker Cupper, who is the highest-ranked American left in the field after his 3-and-2 victory Wednesday over Sean Dale at The Country Club.
On Monday, during the first round of stroke-play qualifying, Rodgers and fellow playing competitors Jordan Reinertson (79-76) and Ryan Riley (78-72) were each assessed a one-stroke penalty after failing to meet the pace-of-play checkpoint on their final hole of the day.
The next day, Rodgers was cruising along inside the match-play cut line when his second shot into the par-5 16th hole at Charles River Country Club got stuck in a tree. He was forced to take an unplayable penalty, ended up triple-bogeying the hole, and needed to drain a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole to get into a 17-for-15 playoff.
That got under way early Wednesday, so Rodgers, who is staying with a host family off the 15th hole here, walked over to The Country Club at 5:30 a.m., made bogey on the first extra hole to advance, trekked back to the house and then returned to the property before his 11:50 a.m. match against Dale.
It was a rematch of their opening-round match a week and a half ago at the prestigious Western Amateur. Rodgers had earned medalist honors there but lost to Dale, the No. 16 seed, on the final hole. Dale eventually reached the finals.
“I was motivated to play well today,” Rodgers said.
The Stanford junior won three of the first five holes but dropped back to all square by the 10th. He won Nos. 14 and 15, and his double bogey on the par-3 16th was enough to clinch the match.
“If you’re going to win this championship, you’re going to have to face adversity,” he said. “I would have liked to get through clean in stroke play and not have anything to worry about, but it’s just part of it. There’s going to be tough matches down the road, and hopefully I can bring my best golf.”