(Photo courtesy Pinehurst Resort. Event information courtesy of USGA)
The USGA (United States Golf Association) oversees a series of championships over the course of each season. This weekend, an international field of 2-man teams are competing in the U.S. Amateur Four Ball Championship in Pinehurst, NC. The event is from May 27 – May 31. The first two days are stroke play to trim the field to 32 teams. At that point, it becomes match play.
Here’s the backdrop of the tournament and the qualifying stroke play results. How did the Ohioans fare in the the Round of 32?
It didn’t go well at all. Neither team made it past the first round of match play on Monday. One was a bit of a surprise, the other wasn’t to me.
Clark and Will just couldn’t recreate the play they had in stroke play. They were down 2 holes with 3 to go when their opponents birdied the par-4 16th hole to close out the match, 3 &2. This was a match where, although they never had the lead, the match was halved through six holes and the Buckeye duo stayed within striking range until they simply ran out of holes.
In each of their opening rounds, they scored 5 birdies on the front nines; 10 birdies in 18 holes is impressive. In the Round of 32, they had only 2 birdies through 9 holes and a total of three when the match was ended. They played well, obviously very well in stroke play, but just needed a few more putts to drop on Monday.
Team Wetterich (TW)
I was a bit concerned going into this match, based on how the stroke play portion went for TW. Daniel and Matthew lost their match 5&4 (5 holes down with 4 holes to play).
After 5 holes, TW was down 3 holes – that’s a pretty deep hole to get out of. Down 4 holes with 5 to go, their opponents birdied the par-4 14th hole to close out the match. In the 14 holes contested, Daniel and Matthew scored only 2 birdies versus their opponent’s 7 birdies.
In their two rounds of stroke play, they didn’t play their front nine’s all that well, scoring even par. A score of even par is pretty good for you and me, but at this level of competition, a team needs to go lower.
- The team members need to be comfortable playing with one another. From experience, having your brother as your partner is a good, comfortable arrangement. I also thought that Engle-Grimmer was a good pairing. Here’s two accomplished golfers, comfortable through playing quite a few rounds together, teaming up. These were good pairings, it just didn’t work out.
- This is no trade secret nor #fakenews, but if a team can get a few birdies early in the match they can take control of it. By holding a lead, you force your opponents into taking risks that likely put them out of their comfort zone. Unfortunately, for the Ohio sides, it didn’t work out that way.
- I thought it was a good experience for Daniel, Matthew, Clark and Will. I’m glad they qualified for this weekend’s stroke play portion, then qualified for the match play segment. This is a good experience for them.