Davidson's Will Gordon reaches quarterfinals of U.S. Amateur

Davidson's Will Gordon reaches quarterfinals of U.S. Amateur

Reid Spencer Publisher
image (Photo copyright USGA/JD Cuban)
Will Gordon of Davidson, N.C., celebrates a winning putt on the iconic par-3 17th hole at Pebble Beach.

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.  — Will Gordon of Davidson, N.C., who played golf with Stephen Curry until Curry finally beat him, advanced to the Friday’s quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links with two victories on Thursday.

Gordon is facing Isaiah Salinda of South San Francisco in the quarterfinals after beating Zheng Kai Bai 3-and-2 in the round of 32 and William Mouw of Chino, Calif., 2-up in the round of 16.

Gordon, 22, the fifth seed and the 126th-ranked amateur in the world, got to know Curry when the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player was turning heads with his basketball prowess at Davidson College.

“I haven’t hung out with him on probably three or four years,” Gordon said of Curry. “But while he was at Davidson his first couple of years, we used to play a lot.

“I beat him probably eight times, and he beat me the last time, and he never called me again.”

Gordon was first-team All-SEC and honorable mention All-American in his 2017-2018 junior season at Vanderbilt.
Texas teen Cole Hammer, the co-medalist, also won two matches Thursday at Pebble Beach to advance to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals.

Hammer, the 18-year-old Houston player headed to the University of Texas this fall, beat Joshua McCarthy of Danville 1 up in the morning in the round of 32, and topped Zach Murray of Australia 2 and 1 in the afternoon in the round of 16.

Hammer has won 12 straight matches, including his Western Amateur victory.

"My game has felt good all this year," said Hammer, who played in the U.S. Open at age 15 in the 2015. "It's huge to make the quarterfinals. I'm playing the match play like it’s stroke play, grinding it out."

Hammer (photo) will face England's Alex Fitzpatrick in the quarterfinals. Fitzpatrick, brother of European Tour pro Matt Fitzpatrick, edged Argentina's Jesus Montenegro in 20 holes, and needed 19 holes to finish off McClure Meissner of San Antonio in the afternoon.

In the other quarterfinals, Davis Riley of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, will play Devon Bling of Ridgecrest, Calif., and Austin Squires of Union, Kentucky, will meet Viktor Hovland of Norway.

The fourth-ranked Hovland, an Oklahoma State junior, is the highest-rated player left in the field. He beat Harrison Ott of Brookfield, Wisconsin, 2 and 1, and routed countryman Kristoffer Reitan 7 and 6.

Bling, a sophomore at UCLA, topped Shintaro Ban of San Jose 2 up, and Noah Goodwin of Corinth, Texas, in 20 holes.

"I played pretty well," said Bling, who led the Bruins in the NCAA title this year. "There were some shots I wasn't happy with, but overall I was happy. I was 3-up early, but I knew it wouldn't last because he's a great player."

Riley, a senior at Alabama competing in his fifth U.S. Amateur, upset co-medalist Daniel Hillier, the two-time New Zealand amateur champion, 5 and 4 in the round of 32. Riley defeated Mason Overstreet of Kingfisher, Oklahoma, in 21 holes in the afternoon.

"This morning was a pretty stress-free round, but this afternoon was a whirlwind of emotions," said Riley. "There were some shots I wish I could have back, but I'll take the win any way I can get it."

Salinda, a senior at Stanford, beat Trevor Phillips of Inman, South Carolina, 5 and 4, and 2017 U.S. Mid-Amatuer champion Stewart Hagestad of Newport Beach 1 up.

Trevor and Trent Phillips were the first brothers to advance to the match-play portion of the same U.S. Amateur Championship since 2008. Both lost in the round of 32.

(Cole Hammer: Photo copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)


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