OAKMONT, Pa. — Nick Grabelcik performed 38 holes to win three matches Friday, sending the North Florida sophomore into the semifinals of the U.S. Beginner at Oakmont.
Coming off an excellent freshman 12 months that included three wins and a spot within the Palmer Cup, Grabelcik is one match away from an exemption to the Masters and U.S. Open.
It wasn’t straightforward on a sweltering day that at the least was freed from storm delays and allowed the U.S. Beginner to get again on rack.
Grabelcik wanted one gap to finish a 2-and-1 victory over former U.S. Junior Beginner champion Michael Thorbjornsen. He needed to go 19 holes in opposition to Hugo Townsend of Sweden, beating him with a wedge that spun to three ft on No. 10 for birdie.
After which after main all the match, Grabelcik misplaced two straight holes and was tied with Davis Chatfield with 4 holes to play. Grabelcik hit 9-iron to five ft for a conceded birdie on the fifteenth and halved the final three holes – twice with bogey – for a 1-up victory.
That places him within the semifinals in opposition to James Piot of Michigan State, who beat Matthew Sharpstene, 3 and 1.
“I’ve had excessive expectations coming into this week and I am glad that issues are going nicely,” Grabelcik stated. “Simply the nice success in my freshman 12 months undoubtedly helps roll over this week, giving me extra expertise than most first-time appearances could have.”
Florida born and raised, Grabelcik’s dad and mom grew up within the Pittsburgh space and his play has stored them on the town for an prolonged journey again dwelling.
The opposite semifinal matches options Travis Vick, who’s carrying the flag for the Texas Longhorns, in opposition to Austin Greaser, the one participant who has but to face the 18th gap at Oakmont in match play.
Greaser has gone his final 38 holes with out trailing.
Vick needed to work more durable than he think about in a match in opposition to Brian Stark that was beginning to get sloppy after a protracted, sizzling day of double matches.
Vick seized management with a 10-foot birdie putt that broke sharply to the left on No. 10 for a 2-up lead. Three of the subsequent 4 holes had been received with pars and Vick was 3 up and appeared to ship the decisive shot on the fifteenth.
He hit the lip for a fairway bunker, the ball touchdown within the fairway. He hit his third shot to 10 ft and holed that for a par to remain 3 up with three holes to play.
Vick, who performs at Oklahoma State, hit a tee shot into 4 ft for a conceded birdie on the sixteenth. He hit a fabulous bunker shot on the reachable par-4 seventeenth for one more conceded birdie to shut the hole to 1 gap. After which Vick discovered a fairway bunker off the 18th tee and laid up within the tough with Stark in the midst of the golf green.
“I used to be pondering we’re going further holes,” Vick stated. “He piped a drive. He got here off two birdies in a row. I figured he discovered just a little one thing, and he gave me a present.”
With a again proper pin on a inexperienced that slopes onerous from left to proper, Begin went left of the flag and over the inexperienced. He let the membership fall from his palms and stared at it on the bottom, realizing the chance misplaced.
Vick hit pitching wedge to about 40 ft left of the flag and hit a stupendous lag for his bogey. Stark’s solely hope was to land it within the collar and have it trickle onto the inexperienced. He got here up quick, and his subsequent chip for par to increase the match by no means had an opportunity.
Vick, a three-sport star in Houston, is used to powerful battles. The Longhorns are stacked with Cole Hammer and Pierceson Coody, who each performed within the Walker Cup. Neither made it out of qualifying, although Vick is main the best way.
“Qualifying (at Texas) is tremendous intense with how stacked our crew is,” Vick stated. “In the event you’re not throwing up respectable numbers, you are greater than possible sitting on the bench. I like that rather a lot. I like how if you get up daily, you have to play good golf.”
The mentality he attributes to certainly one of his mentors, former U.S. Beginner champion Hal Sutton, with whom he works at Champions Golf Membership in Houston.
The finalists earn spots within the Masters and U.S. Open, and the winner of the U.S. Beginner will get within the British Open. The semifinals are Saturday afternoon, with the 36-hole closing Sunday.