115th U.S. Amateur Championship conducted by the United States Golf Association (www.usga.org)
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Southern Methodist University rising senior Bryson DeChambeau, the 2015 NCAA champion, will meet Derek Bard, a University of Virginia junior who won the Sunnehanna Amateur, in the 36-hole final match of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club.
DeChambeau, 21, of Clovis, Calif., a 2015 United States Walker Cup Team selection, defeated Sean Crocker, a University of Southern California sophomore, 4 and 3, in Saturday’s semifinals.
“To be here with the best players in the world that have played here and won here, is pretty incredible: Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and a couple others, it’s incredible,” said DeChambeau.
Bard, 20, of New Hartford, N.Y., beat Kenta Konishi, a Japanese national team member, 3 and 2, in the other semifinal.
Holding a 1-up lead through 11 holes, DeChambeau, a first-team All-American, won holes 12, 13 and 14, with birdies on 12 and 14, to take a 4-up lead. He closed out the match with a halving par on the par-3 15th.
“On 12, that was a huge second shot to stuff it in there to 6 feet,” said DeChambeau, who plays in a Ben Hogan-style cap. “I knew that he was most likely going to get up and down, even though it was a ridiculously hard shot, and he did hit a great shot to a foot and I gave it to him. I had a 6-footer, and I threw it right in the heart.”
Bard, who won the 2014 U.S. Collegiate, took the first hole with a birdie and never trailed. Konishi, 21, a junior at Tohoku Fukushi University who played for Japan in the 2014 World Amateur Team Championship, squared the match on the 11th hole but Bard won the 12th with a par.
Bard then won No. 14 with birdie and No. 15 with a par, but hit a poor drive on the 16th.
“The hole is 450 yards, so I figured if I could just hit a solid 3-iron, I should have 6-iron, 5-iron coming in,” said Bard of his tee shot. “I kind of chunk-sliced one down there and found the fairway, which was fine. So I knew if I could get it on the green virtually near the hole, I would have a good shot at closing out right there. I just got a good number with a 3-iron and had a nice uphill lie to get the ball in the air a little bit. I flagged it; I went right at it, and it was one of the best shots of my life.”
His iron shot stopped 20 feet past the hole. Konishi chipped to within 4 feet before Bard’s birdie attempt stopped 2 feet short for a conceded par to end the match.
“I was talking to some of my friends and my dad earlier,” said Bard, of playing DeChambeau. “I’m going to have to play my best golf to have a chance tomorrow, because he’s been playing very solid leading up to this point, and I’m just going to have to have one of those days where everything falls the right way from here.”
Among the players Bard defeated en route to the final are Vanderbilt All-American and United States Walker Cup Team member Hunter Stewart (Round of 16) and World Amateur Golf Ranking No. 1 Jon Rahm, of Spain, who was the 2015 Ben Hogan Award winner, in the quarterfinals.
DeChambeau’s path to the final included a win over college player of the year and 2015 Walker Cup teammate Maverick McNealy of Stanford University in the Round of 16, and a 3-and-2 decision in the Round of 32 over University of South Carolina All-American Matt NeSmith.
DeChambeau is vying to become the fifth player to win the NCAA title and U.S. Amateur Championship in the same year and the first since Ryan Moore in 2004. The others are Jack Nicklaus (1961), Phil Mickelson (1990) and Tiger Woods (1996).
Konishi, who once defeated Hideki Matsuyama in a Japanese amateur tournament, was attempting to become the first Japanese winner of the U.S. Amateur and the second Japanese USGA champion, joining Michiko Hattori, who won the 1985 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
The 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play (18 holes on each of Olympia Fields’ North and South Courses), followed by six rounds of match play (all on the North Course).
The finalists receive exemptions into the 2016 U.S. Open, three years of exemptions into the U.S. Amateur and a likely invitation to the 2016 Masters Tournament. The champion also receives an exemption into the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon.
All quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Aug. 15-21.
The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
For interview transcripts of selected players: https://asaptext.com/asap_
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Results from Saturday’s semifinal round of match play at the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship, played at 7,234 yard, par 36-34-70 North Course (NC) at Olympia Fields Country Club.
Derek Bard, New Hartford, N.Y. (142) def. Kenta Konishi, Japan (140), 3 and 2
Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, Calif. (140) def. Sean Crocker, Westlake Village, Calif. (140), 4 and 3
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Pairing for Sunday’s championship round of match play at the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship, played at 7,234 yard, par 36-34-70 North Course (NC) at Olympia Fields Country Club. All Times CDT
Championship (36 holes)*
8:30 a.m. – Derek Bard, New Hartford, N.Y. (142) vs. Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, Calif. (140)
*afternoon round is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
Info provided by the USGA