Aussie US Amateur charge ends in Round of 16

19th Aug 2022

Hayden Hopewell’s US Amateur campaign has come to an end in the Round of 16, while Connor McKinney bowed out earlier in the day in a heart-breaking Round of 32 loss at The Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

Royal Fremantle’s Hopewell went down 2&1 to American Stewart Hagestad after relinquishing his lead on the back nine.

Hopewell reached the turn one-up after he made back-to-back winning birdies at the sixth and seventh holes, but following a double bogey at the 501-yard par-4 tenth he was never able to recapture the advantage.

Hagestad, 31, has won the US Mid-Amateur twice, played The Masters twice as a result, and he has also featured at the US Open four times, and his experience held him in good stead throughout the back nine.

The decisive moment in the contest came when Hopewell bogeyed both the 14th and 15th holes, while Hagestad steadied with consecutive pars to become two-up.

The West Australian responded with a birdie at the 16th, but the American ended the match with an eagle at the par-5 17th.

Earlier in the day, Hopewell never trailed in his 2&1 Round of 32 victory over American Ford Clegg where he made three birdies and sealed the win with back-to-back pars at the 16th and 17th.

McKinney walked to the 16th tee in his match with a one-up lead over another American in Nathan Franks, but the switch quickly flipped and he was defeated one-up.

The reigning Australian Amateur and St Andrews Links Trophy champion had been locked in an arm wrestle with Franks all day as the pair won three holes each on the front nine to be all-square at the turn.

McKinney took the lead with a bogey at the 278-yard par-4 12th, but another bogey at the 16th would make things level again.

The decisive blow was made at the par-5 17th with Franks making birdie to recapture the lead for the first time since the eighth hole, and the pair trading bogeys at the last put an end to the West Australian’s hopes of winning on a third continent this year.

The Australian pair will now turn their attention to representing their country, alongside Harrison Crowe, at the World Amateur Teams Championship in Paris from August 31 to September 3.


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