The trio of John Augenstein, Will Gordon, and Harrison Ott each won their round of 64 matches at the U.S. Amateur at the world renown Pebble Beach Golf Links and will play in the round of 32 Thursday morning after Augenstein won his match 1-up in 19 holes against Colin Morikawa, Gordon claimed his first match 4 & 3 against Japan’s Hide Yoshihara, and Ott defeated Justin Suh, 1-up to close out the Commodore sweep on Wednesday.
Entering the day, Vanderbilt was the most represented collegiate golf program in the match-play portion of the U.S. Amateur with three players, and after Wednesday’s results, all three will advance to the round of 32.
Gordon began the festivities for the Commodores at Pebble Beach on Wednesday, winning his match 4 & 3 over Hide Yoshihara of Japan. The senior from Davidson, N.C. trailed Yoshihara by one-down through seven holes, but then won six of the next seven holes to take the match in dominating fashion, 4 & 3.
Augenstein was next up in a rematch from the Western Amateur with Colin Morikawa, one of the nation’s best collegiate players. Morikawa controlled the action early, holding a two-up lead through eight holes. The rising junior then won the next two holes to make the match all-square, and then took the lead with a birdie on the par-five, 570-yard 14th hole. Augenstein held the lead until the 17th, when Morikawa won the par-three, 17th, but Augenstein rebounded on the 18th with a perfect drive on the iconic par-five. He then reached the green in two, but had his eagle putt fall inches short.
Augenstein and Morikawa headed to extra holes, and the Commodore junior once again striped his drive down the middle of the fairway and hit his approach to the 376-yard, par-four first to within 15 feet. Morikawa hit his approach to just short of the green, missed his birdie putt, and Augenstein barely missed his birdie putt to win the match. Morikawa had five feet coming back for his par, but pulled his putt to the left, advancing Augenstein to the round of 32.
“I didn’t play well the first eight holes,” said Augenstein. “I came out as dead as could be, trying to get out to a hot start and I got out to the worst start, hitting it all over the place and missing it in bad spots,
all that. I actually stood on the ninth tee, and I told Gator, my assistant coach and my caddie for this week, I said, I need to play the best 10 holes of the summer to beat him. He’s like, well, let’s go do it. I don’t know why — I didn’t really have momentum, but for some reason that kind of — we created momentum out of nothing, and yeah, I birdied 9 and 10 and 14 and 16. Unfortunately kind of gave him one there on 17. I missed it in a bad spot. But that’s what this course will do; if you don’t miss it in a good spot, you’re probably not going to get up-and-down most likely.”
Ott led his match wire-to-wire over Suh and held on for the victory, 1-up. The sophomore from Brookfield, Wis. and the 2018 Wisconsin State Amateur champion, jumped on Suh early, winning the first two holes and never looked back. Ott held a 2-up lead with five holes to play, but Suh claimed the 14th hole and then the two golfers halved the last four, including a pair of sixes on the par-five 18th.
Entering the matches Wednesday, Suh was the number-two ranked amateur in the world and Morikawa the third-ranked amateur.
Players could end up playing 36 holes on Thursday with the Round of 32 and Round of 16 taking place. Gordon will take on Zheng Kai Bai of China at 11 a.m. CT, Augenstein will play McClure Meissner at 11:50 a.m. CT, and Ott will take on Viktor Hovland at 12:20 p.m. CT in the round of 32. Round of 16 matches will take place in the afternoon.
Online coverage of the round of 32 begins at 2 p.m. CT on usga.org, with FS1 picking up the afternoon coverage beginning at 6 p.m. CT.