Cole Hammer advances to US Amateur quarterfinals

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Texas teen Cole Hammer 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 is stroke play, grinding it out.”

The co-medalist will face England’s Alex Fitzpatrick in the quarterfinals. 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; Isaiah Salinda of South San Francisco will face William Gordon of Davidson, North Carolina; and Austin Squires of Union, Kentucky, will meet Viktor Hovland of Norway.

The fourth-ranked Hovland, an Oklahoma State junior, is the highest-ranked 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 Stewart Hagestad of Newport Beach 1 up.