Greaser, Piot set for U.S. Newbie championship

Golf

OAKMONT, Pa. — Austin Greaser by no means had a lot driving on the end result of 1 match, and the actual fact was laborious to disregard as he labored his means via a whole lot of spectators strolling alongside him, in entrance of him and behind him down the primary gap at Oakmont on Saturday on the U.S. Newbie.

With two unlikely par saves at the beginning and a flawless four-hole stretch within the center, Greaser dealt with all of the stress and a focus as if he had been there earlier than.

Greaser capped off his large run with a driver that carried some 320 yards and onto the 14th inexperienced for a two-putt birdie, sending him to a 2-and-1 victory over Travis Vick and a spot within the championship match towards James Piot.

“I’ve by no means needed to maneuver via a crowd. I’ve by no means skilled something like that,” Greaser stated. “I believe I used to be nervous from begin to end immediately, most nervous I’ve ever been. It is a new ambiance for me. … However I do not assume I am ever going to really feel not nervous while you’ve received this a lot on the road.”

Greaser and Piot, who additionally had a giant run in his 4-and-3 victory over Nick Gabrelcik, earned spots within the Masters and U.S. Open by reaching the 36-hole championship match. The winner Sunday additionally will get into the one hundred and fiftieth British Open at St. Andrews.

“By no means thought I would ever get there,” Piot stated in regards to the Masters. “At this time, understanding what’s on the road, a U.S. Open, I felt like that is the most important match, simply stepping into that 36-hole remaining the place something can occur. At this time you have simply received to have your greatest sport.”

Each finalists delivered, capitalizing on errors by their opponents.

Greaser had not trailed on the again 9 at Oakmont in 4 earlier matches till Vick birdied the tenth gap to go 1 up. Greaser, an Ohio Newbie champion final yr going into his junior yr at North Carolina, responded with a few of his greatest golf.

He birdied the following two holes. He hit his 9-iron safely onto the inexperienced on the par-3 thirteenth and received the outlet with a par. After which he drove the 14th inexperienced to win his fourth straight gap for a 3-up lead. That was sufficient to outlast Vick, who gave away too many holes by being out of place off the tee and on the tremendous slick greens of Oakmont.

Vick tried to maintain it shut, profitable the fifteenth with a par when Greaser hit two poor photographs, and the par-3 sixteenth when Greaser could not save par from a bunker.

However on the reachable seventeenth, Vick pulled his drive into foot-long hay that was laying over. He could not get that to the inexperienced, chipped 15 ft lengthy, missed the par putt and conceded.

Not one of the final 9 holes had been halved.

“It stings when there’s one thing to play for, just like the Masters, and also you present up and do not play your greatest golf,” Vick stated.

Greaser has but to play the 18th gap in match play in 5 rounds. Equally essential was his begin. After driving right into a bunker that left him unable to succeed in the primary inexperienced, he flew a lob wedge towards the again pin to six ft and made par.

His drive on the brief par-4 second gap sailed into the bushes proper of the golf green. Greaser already had his driver out to measure two membership lengths for a penalty drop when he realized that it wasn’t his golf ball buried underneath all that vegetation. He discovered his ball and was in a position to hack out in need of the inexperienced. Utilizing putter, he rolled it as much as 5 ft and saved one other par.

Earlier than lengthy, he was on his means.

Piot was as scrappy as ever, having grown up on a public course complicated in Michigan the place it was commonplace to for him to play 72 holes in a day.

He dropped solely two photographs at Oakmont — the primary gap that has given him suits all week, and the par-3 eighth with a tender chip from simply over the inexperienced. In any other case, he saved it in play off the tee and saved stress at a minimal, leaving the errors to Gabrelcik.

The match was all sq. via eight holes when Gabrelcik received in bother off the tee at No. 9 and made double bogey. Gabrelcik gave one other gap away on the tenth with an extended three-putt bogey, and Piot holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the eleventh to start out pulling away.

The clincher got here on the fifteenth, when Piot discovered a bunker off the tee and needed to lay up in need of the inexperienced. He hit his third into 15 ft and holed the par putt, whereas Gabrelcik went right into a greenside bunker and could not save par.

That ended a yr of Gabrelcik making a reputation for himself. As a freshman at North Florida, he received 3 times. In his first USGA championship, he reached the semifinals of the U.S. Newbie till a spherical the place “I simply did not have it immediately.”

“I had a fantastic week. I can not complain — prime 4 in my first U.S. Newbie,” Gabrelcik stated. “Hopefully, I can roll this into my sophomore season.”

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