2019 US Amateur Semifinalist Advances to Final Four
By Will Johnson
PINEHURST, NC – After making it to the semifinals in last year’s US Amateur Golf Championship … he’s baaack! Former Crockett Bulldog and current Sam Houston State University Bearkat William Holcomb V is back in Pinehurst, NC this week and is among the final four golfers competing for the North and South Men’s Amateur Golf Championship.
The tournament is a one of the more prestigious golf tournaments on the amateur circuit and has been held at the Pinehurst Resort since 1901. Past winners of the event include Jack Nicklaus, Davis Love III and Curtis Strange.
An invitational tournament, participants are chosen based upon their performance in national amateur championships and overall competitive record.
The tourney began on Tuesday, June 30 with stroke play. Holcomb, the 2016 Class 3A state champ, shot an opening round 72 on the Pinehurst No. 4 course and backed it up with a 68 on Pinehurst No. 2 the next day.
His two round total of 140 put him in a tie for 23rd, which was good enough for Holcomb to advance to the round of 32, as the tournament reset to match play.
The first day of match play was on Thursday, July 2 where the Crockett native took on the number nine seed, Blake Taylor from East Carolina University.
Holcomb jumped out in front on the second hole to go one up on Taylor. The next hole, however, saw Taylor tie the match and on the following green, Taylor took the lead when Holcomb struggled to find his rhythm on the putting surface.
Taylor remained 1 up through the rest of the front nine, but as the SHSU Bearkat and ECU Pirate made the turn, Holcomb squared the match when Taylor faltered on the 10th green.
With the match all knotted up, Holcomb and Taylor played the next three holes even. On 14, however, Holcomb seized the momentum to go one up.
With only four holes remaining, it appeared as if Holcomb’s 2019 experience at Pinehurst No. 2 gave him a slight edge. He took control on 15 to go 2 up with a par. Then on 16, Holcomb closed out the match to win, 3 and 2.
The win moved Holcomb into the round of 16 where he took on Davis Thompson from the University of Georgia.
Holcomb was on his game in the morning match. He opened up play by winning the first two holes and halving the third. From there, Holcomb pocketed three holes in a row to go 5 up through only six holes.
Thompson sliced a skin off of his playing partner’s lead but on number 8, Holcomb won the hole to retake his 5 up advantage.
At the ninth hole, Thompson got the lead back down to 4, but Holcomb put the proverbial nail in the coffin by winning 10 and 12 to go 6 up.
The Georgia Bulldog battled back to win 13, but when he and Holcomb halved 14 it was over as the SHSU Bearkat won 5 and 4 to advance to the Quarterfinals against Matt McCarty from Santa Clara University.
McCarty birdied the first hole to take the early lead as the pair of golfers teed off at 1:00 pm. Holcomb, as he is quickly becoming known to do on the No. 2 course, reeled him back in on the second hole with a par while McCarty holed out with a bogey.
Spring Creek Country Club’s favorite golfer gave the lead back on number three, but Holcomb tied the match on six with a par on the 203 yard par-3.
After the two golfers halved 7 and 8, Holcomb took over the match with a birdie the par-3 ninth hole to go one up at the turn.
Holcomb picked up the next two holes to go 3 up. It stayed that way until the 14th green when Holcomb parred the hole to go 4 up with four to play.
McCarty wasn’t about to give up as he went par-birdie on 15 and 16 to cut Holcomb’s lead down to 2. On 17, Holcomb found the green from the tee box and then two-putted for par. McCarty made a run at birdie to keep the match going, but when his putt slid by the hole, Holcomb had claimed his second match play win of the day and advanced to the tournament semifinals on the Fourth of July.
He will take on Trey Winstead from LSU. The fireworks begin at 7 am as Holcomb and Winstead tee-off. The second semifinal will feature Tyler Strafaci taking on Jonathan Yaun. The winners of the morning matches will duke it out in the afternoon for the championship. Tee time for the North and South Men’s Amateur Golf Championship is 1 pm.
Check back online for the results of Saturday’s matches.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.