JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (AP) — South Korea’s Gunn Yang advanced to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals Thursday, birdieing the final three holes to beat top-ranked Ollie Schniederjans 1 up at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Yang, a San Diego State sophomore making his first appearance in the tournament, was down a hole against Schniederjans, a senior at Georgia Tech, after 15 holes. Yang won the par-16th with a 6-foot putt, took the par-3 17th with another 6-footer and finished off the hometown favorite with a tap-in on the par-5 18th.
“This match was maybe the best match I’ve ever played so far,” Yang said . “I was smiling on the course, because he hit so many good shots also. It was a real interesting match.”
Schniederjans, who grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, said he was 5 under for the round, but missed crucial putts down the stretch.
“That was a great match,” Schniederjans said. “I’m very disappointed. Only one guy is going to be the winner, 312 qualified and thousands tried. I didn’t deserve it because I didn’t get it done. I felt like I should have got it done and I didn’t.”
In the morning, Yang beat England’s Paul Howard 4 and 3 in the round of 32. Yang will play Cameron Young of Scarborough, New York, in the quarterfinals. Young beat Kyle Jones of Taylor, Arizona 1 up.
In the other upper-bracket quarterfinal, 36-year-old Pittsburgh financial adviser Nathan Smith will play
Frederick Wedel of The Woodlands, Texas.
Smith, the oldest player to reach match play, beat U.S. Public Links champion Byron Meth of San Diego with a par on the 21st hole. Smith bogeyed the 18th hole.
“I knew the quality of player he was and just played my heart out,” Smith said. “It’s nice to win a few matches and get deep. I just try to play hard and try not to give too many holes away and just try to stay with the guys and it’s worked out. So far, so good.”`
Last year in the Walker Cup on Long Island, Smith won the deciding point in the United States’ 17-9 victory over Britain and Ireland. He’s a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion.
Wedel beat England’s Jimmy Mullen 2 and 1.
In the lower bracket, Canada’s Corey Conners will play Zachary Olsen of Cordova, Tennessee; and Roman Robledo of Harlingen, Texas, will face Denny McCarthy of Rockville, Maryland.
In the third-round Conners beat Spain’s Jon Rahm 3 and 1; Olsen topped Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas, 5 and 3; Robledo beat Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis, California, 3 and 1; and McCarthy edged Eli Cole of Los Angeles 1 up. In the morning, Robledo Robby Shelton, the University of Alabama player ranked No. 2, 1 up.
“I carried my momentum on from playing Robby Shelton in the morning,” Robledo said. “Everything kind of fell into place, hit some really good shots down the stretch and fortunate enough to make a good amount of putts.”