England’s Tom Lewis
missed the Sweet Sixteen.
Ups and Downs Of The Sweet Sixteen Scramble
GLENVIEW, ILLINOIS | In the caul-
dron that is the final 18-hole scramble
for the Sweet Sixteen at the Western
Amateur, there are always a bunch of
stories of how players fell short.
Nathan Smith, a Walker Cup candi-
date who was the only mid-am to make
the 36-hole cut, missed a short birdie
putt on No. 17 and then bogeyed No. 18
to miss the playoff. Corbin Mills made
bogey from the middle of the fairway
on the 18th; earlier, he missed a short
eagle putt on the seventh. Alex Moon
and Russell Henley each birdied the
final hole but came up a shot short.
Patrick Cantlay, meanwhile, hit his
final tee shot into the deep rough and
proceeded to hit a daring, low scream-
er that stopped in the fringe, 15 feet
from the hole. His birdie bid slipped by,
putting him into a playoff for the final
spot against Michael Cromie. Cantlay
calmly rolled in a 10-foot birdie on the
second hole after Cromie missed from
11 feet on the same line.
You know it’s an important match
when the vanquished come out to
watch. And so it was when the match
everyone hoped would occur, world No.
1 Cantlay vs. world No. 2 Peter Uihlein,
took place on a sultry August afternoon in the north Chicago suburbs. It
wasn’t artistic, and in the end it was
lost rather than won, but it was close
all day and featured some impressive
The match was a back-and-forth affair. The front side was somewhat sloppy, but the back nine was well played.
Cantlay putted poorly or he would have
won handily. Then again, if Uihlein
hadn’t demonstrated great sportsmanship and given him a putt on the 18th
that you wouldn’t give your brother, the
outcome might have been different.
It went 19 holes, and Cantlay prevailed when Uihlein hit his approach
shot into the rough over the first playoff
hole green and could not get up and
down. They are close friends and will
be teammates at the Walker Cup next
month in Scotland. But this week they
were rivals, what they may well be for
the next 20-plus years. This time the
younger Californian avenged his semifinal loss to Uihlein at the U.S. Amateur
last year. This is what we have to look
forward to from a special pair.
cause of the quality of the field, and the
fact that it had been since the NCAA
Championship that many of America’s
best had squared off against each other.
Cantlay played in more professional
events than amateur tournaments this
summer, making the cut in four pro
starts. Uihlein played a slightly reduced
amateur schedule to accommodate
the Open Championship, one PGA Tour
event and one Nationwide tournament.
In all, 11 of the top 20 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking played in the Western,
the deepest field of the summer.
ated with the Western would help him
remain in the top 10 in the world.
Lewis was undone by a third-round
76, and his final-round 67, 4-under
par, was not enough to enable him to
advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Conditions at North Shore CC were
best described as “rough.”
As the week began, there was real
concern that the college kids would
devour the Colt, Mackenzie & Alison
design that measures just 7,067 yards.
Chicago had experienced the wettest
July since record-keeping began in 1872,
and the area took several inches of rain
just days before the tournament began.
But rough that some players thought
was U.S. Open-like kept the scores in
check. Birdies were abundant, but a
visit to the long grass usually resulted
in bogey or worse. The first cut came at
2-over par, as just 19 players broke par
in the first two rounds. The low round of
the tournament was a 6-under-par 65.
This year’s Western Amateur was a
bit more anticipated than usual be-
England’s Tom Lewis made it clear
that he was going to play for the GB&I
squad in the Walker Cup, dispelling any
rumors that he would turn pro before
the matches in Aberdeen. He also stated
that his playing in the Western was not
intended, as rumored, to send a message
to the R&A about its ranking system.
Experience counts at the Western:
Thirteen of the Sweet Sixteen played
in the Western previously. John Hahn
won the tournament in 2009, and Pan
was stroke-play medalist in 2009 and A
Blayne Barber (left), Russell Henley and Patrick Cantlay share a laugh
during the highs and lows of qualifying for the Sweet Sixteen.