Canadian Corey Conners, South Korean Yang advance to final of US Amateur Championship
Saturday, Aug 16, 2014 04:00 pm
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - Canadian Corey Conners and South Korean Gunn Yang set up the second straight all-foreign final in the U.S. Amateur on Saturday.
Conners beat Denny McCarthy of Rockville, Maryland, 1 up at Atlanta Athletic Club, and Yang edged Frederick Wedel of The Woodlands, Texas, in 19 holes.
Last year in the 36-hole final at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, England's Matthew Fitzpatrick beat Australia's Oliver Goss. Conners, from Listowel, Ont., is the first Canadian to reach the final since Gary Cowan won his second title in 1971.
Last year, Conners lost to Fitzpatrick in the semifinals.
"It feels pretty good to have made it a little bit further than last year," Conners said. "It was a lot of fun last year and I learned a lot. But yeah, I'm just really excited about this year. I am playing some nice golf and I am really pumped up for tomorrow to have some fun and try and finish it off."
The finalists earned spots in the Masters next year, as long as they remain amateurs.
"I mean, I'm already in the Masters and a couple of good events, but I'm a player. I want to win the tournament," Yang said. "I want to put my name on the trophy with all the best players around the world. That's my goal."
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., finished second at last week's U.S. Women's Amateur tournament in Glen Cove, N.Y. Kristen Gillman rallied to win 2 up in the 36-hole final at Nassau Country Club.
Conners, coming off his senior season at Kent State, had par wins on the par-5 12th and par-4 13th to take a two-hole lead. McCarthy, a senior at Virginia, won the par-4 16th with a birdie, and Conners halved the final two with pars to wrap up the match.
"The golf course was playing really, really difficult today," Conners said. "I had a lot of very tricky putts, even tricky to two-putt to get it close to the hole. I'm pretty happy with how I played."
Yang, a sophomore at San Diego State, lost the 18th hole, then won with a 5-foot birdie putt on the 19th — the par-4 10th.
On the extra hole, Wedel's approach landed on the fringe about 40 feet away and he two-putted for par. Yang hit his approach within 5 feet.
"Fortunately, he gave me another chance and then unfortunately he shot me out on the next," said Wedel, a junior at Pepperdine.