JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (AP) — Pepperdine junior Frederick Wedel advanced to the U.S. Amateur semifinals Friday, beating 36-year-old Pittsburgh financial adviser Nathan Smith 4 and 3 at Atlanta Athletic Club.
The 19-year-old Wedel, from The Woodlands, Texas, won two of the first three holes against Smith, a four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion. Wedel took a 4-up lead with consecutive birdie wins on Nos. 12 and 13 and closed out the match with a par halve on the par-3 15th.
"I knew I had to get off to a hot start and take control of the match early, and once I had it, I never gave it up," Wedel said. "That was the key."
Wedel, making his first appearance in the event, will face South Korea's Gunn Yang in the semifinals. Yang beat high school senior Cameron Young of Scarborough, New York, 2 up.
In the other semifinal, Canada's Corey Conners will play Denny McCarthy of Rockville, Maryland. Conners beat Zachary Olsen of Cordova, Tennessee, 2 and 1, and McCarthy topped Roman Robledo of Harlingen, Texas, 3 and 2.
Smith, the oldest player to advance to match play, was making his 14th appearance in the event.
"Even though he's a four-time USGA champion, it didn't faze me one bit," Wedel said. "I felt like I had an advantage being that it's this deep in the tournament and I feel like I'm more fresh than he is. I just wanted to make sure I drove it well and put pressure on him early."
Yang, a sophomore at San Diego State, took the lead with a par win on the par-3 17th and finished off Young with an eagle on the par-5 18th. Yang's tee shot on 18 bounced off the top of the brick wall bordering the adjoining lake and left him with a 130-yard approach.
Continue reading this story on the...