Qualifying medalists Neil Raymond and Brady Watt each won two matches Thursday to advance to the US Amateur quarterfinals at The Country Club.
Raymond, trying to become the first English winner since 1911, beat Zachary Olsen of Cordova, Tenn., 2 and 1 in the morning and edged Australia’s Nathan Holman 1 up in the afternoon. Watt, from Australia, topped Seth Reeves of Duluth, Ga., 3 and 2 in the morning and beat Canada’s Charlie Hughes 2 and 1 in the afternoon.
On Friday, Raymond will face Canada’s Corey Conners, a 5-and-3 winner over Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Ind.
”I don’t feel like I’m a medalist. I just feel like I’m another competitor in the guys that are left,” Raymond said. ”We’ve all got as much of a chance as anyone else. On the flip side, I feel really good about my game.”
He said feeling welcome has had a lot to do with his success in the tournament.
”I feel happy. I feel comfortable,” he said. ”And to be honest, the way we’ve been welcomed as foreign golfers is fantastic. The crowd, the spectators, the volunteers, the staff, they’ve all been really good so far. I can’t believe how big a crowd you’ve got for amateur golf, but it’s all been really great to see.”
In the other upper-bracket quarterfinal, Adam Ball of Richmond, Va., will meet England’s Matt Fitzpatrick. Ball routed Chelso Barrett of Surry, N.H., 6 and 5, and Fitzpatrick beat Gavin Hall, Pittsford, N.Y., 4 and 3.
Fitzpatrick, from Northwestern, is well aware he Raymond give England 25 percent of the quarterfinals as they bid for the country’s first win in this tournament in over a century — and to further England’s name in the international community.
”It’s definitely a positive for England golf,” he said. ”Neil has had a very good season already and as you can see it’s carried on.”
In the lower-bracket quarterfinals, Watt will face 17-year-old Scottie Scheffler of Dallas, the youngest player in the quarterfinals; and Australia’s Oliver Goss will meet Brandon Matthews of Dupont, Pa.
Scheffler, the U.S. Junior Amateur winner last month, made his third straight late comeback and beat Austria’s Matthias Schwab 1 up, Goss topped Xander Schauffele of San Diego 3 and 1, and Matthews edged Charlie Danielson of Osceola, Wis., 3 and 2.
Watt said a strong morning round can be a key to completing the double session.
”If you play well in the morning it’s a lot easier to carry it on,” he said. ”If you sneak through in the morning and don’t play well, you have to hang in there. I managed to play pretty good in the morning and felt pretty confident.”