(PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.) – Doug Ghim, a University of Texas All-American and Western Amateur runner-up Doc Redman each won their semifinal matches Saturday to advance to the 36-hole championship match of the 117th U.S. Amateur at The Riviera Country Club.
Ghim, the Big 12 Player of the Year from Arlington Heights, Ill., beat Vanderbilt University All-American Theo Humphrey, of Greenwich, Conn., 2 and 1; and Redman, a Clemson University sophomore, of Raleigh, N.C., defeated Virginia Tech junior Mark Lawrence Jr., of Richmond, Va., 1 up.
Ghim, 21, and a two-time Palmer Cup selection, won the sixth hole with a birdie, the eighth with an eagle, the par-5 11th with a conceded eagle and the 12th with a par to gain a 4-up lead. Humphrey, the highest remaining match-play seed (No. 4), won the next two par 3s, 14 and 16, with pars to cut his deficit to 2 down after Ghim hit his tee shots into bunkers. The pair halved the par-5 17th hole to close the match.
“After the third hole which Doug won with birdie, I never led in the match, or that was the last time it was all square,” said Humphrey, 21, who was the runner-up at the 2017 Northeast Amateur. “I was kind of behind the 8-ball for the entire time.”
Ghim, the runner-up in the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, holed four key putts and a greenside pitch shot for an eagle in the first nine holes but his match-clinching two-putt – the last from 5½ feet – on the 17th brought a celebration from his dad, Jeff, who is his caddie.
“In any match to have that length of a putt to close it out is hard to do, but then you also got these other thoughts this your head,” said Ghim, who advanced to the Round of 32 at last year’s Amateur. “I was just trying to make sure I stay calm. I didn't make the putt more than what it was.”
Redman, 19, of Raleigh, N.C., who lost the first hole, rebounded quickly and built an early 2-up lead by winning holes 3, 4 and 5. He also regained a 2-up lead at two other times (after holes 12 and 15).
Lawrence, who won the 2017 Virginia State Amateur 37 years after his father, responded with a winning par on the 16th and a winning eagle on the par-5 17th to square the match.
Redman, who advanced to the Round of 32 at the 2016 U.S. Amateur and was sixth at the Northeast Amateur, won the match by two-putting for par from just off the green on the iconic 18th hole, while Lawrence notched a bogey.
“It's great. I'm so excited to be able to compete for the championship tomorrow, especially after how I played in stroke play, which was horrendous,” said Redman, who parred the 10th hole at Riviera in Wednesday morning’s playoff to make match play. “I didn't think after I finished it I had any chance of moving on to match play. But, I'm really happy to be here still, obviously.”
The 62nd seed, Redman is the latest finalist to advance to match play through a playoff since Steven Fox, who won the Havemeyer Trophy in 2012.
For the first time since 2012, all four semifinalists were American.
Both finalists, if they remain an amateur, receive an exemption from qualifying for the 118th U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., June 14-17, 2018, as well as a likely invitation to the next Masters Tournament and an exemption into the next three U.S. Amateurs.
All quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 118th U.S. Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links and stroke play co-host Spyglass Hill, Aug. 13-19, 2018. Semifinalists are exempt from qualifying for the next two U.S. Amateur Championships.
The 117th U.S. Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play, followed by six rounds of match play, concluding with Sunday’s 36-hole championship match, which begins at 7:45 a.m. PDT. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Riviera, which was the host site of the 1948 U.S. Open, won by Ben Hogan, and the 1998 U.S. Senior Open, won by Hale Irwin, is playing at 7,272 yards. Bel-Air Country Club, which hosted the 1976 U.S. Amateur and the 2004 U.S. Senior Amateur, served as the stroke-play co-host course.