Bacha, Smith top #USAmateur Qual. at West Shore
CAMP HILL, Pa. — A couple of surging 17-year-olds from opposing coasts met at the medalist platform during a U.S. Amateur Qualifier administered by GAP at West Shore Country Club (par 72, 6,737 yards).
Carson Bacha (right) of York, Pa. and Ryan Smith of Carlsbad, Calif. posted matching 5-under-par 139s to grab the only two qualifying spots available Tuesday upon the completion of Round Two. The U.S. Amateur Qualifier, a 36-hole, one day event, extended into a second day after significant rainfall caused a five-hour delay Monday. Round One wrapped up at 7:30 p.m.
The U.S. Amateur will take place Aug. 12-18 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
In addition to sharing medalist honors, Bacha and Smith both relied on caddie reassurance to persevere at West Shore. And get this. Their respective caddies, coincidentally, are brothers of their respective swing coaches. And get this. They’re both named Mike: Mike Carazo for Bacha, Mike Maguire for Smith.
During his outward tour Tuesday, Bacha, who started on the back nine, missed five birdie putts inside 15 feet. The frustration peaked as he walked off No. 17 (par 5, 548 yards) green. Caddie Mike Carazo, the brother of Bacha’s swing coach, Ray Carazo, put his arm around the co-medalist’s shoulder.
“He was really positive. He told me that we still have a bunch of golf left to be played,” Bacha, an Out Door Country Club member, said. “He was able to keep us in the moment. That helped us put together a great back nine.”
A bogey-free back nine to solidify a bogey-free round. On No. 2 (par 5, 547 yards), Bacha bumped a wedge to two feet for birdie. His “best drive of the day” on No. 5 (par 4, 394 yards) left the 2018 Pennsylvania Golf Association Junior Boys’ Champion with 93 yards for his approach. Bacha knocked a 58-degree wedge to a foot. Another tap-in birdie occurred on the next hole (par 4, 400 yards) after he hit a 130-yard knockdown 9-iron.
Bacha registered 24 greens in regulation and totaled 28 putts in Monday’s opening round. Hence the early aggravation — and needed Carazo consultation — in Round Two.
“I didn’t miss a single putt inside 10 feet yesterday. That’s why I got a little frustrated on [my] front nine today,” Bacha, an incoming senior at Central York High School and Auburn University commit, said.
Smith, the event’s 18-hole leader at 4 under, felt the frustration bubbling after a double bogey on No. 2 Tuesday. His drive breached out-of-bounds right by a mere six inches. Smith also bogeyed the next hole (par 3, 211 yards) after missing a seven-footer. Caddie Mike Maguire, the brother of Smith’s swing coach, Pat Maguire, stepped in and helped settle the storm.
“It’s great to have somebody who knows your coach and can talk and relate on a similar level. He caddied on the PGA TOUR, too, so it’s good to have the confidence level and experience,” Smith said.
A 50-yard wedge shot to three feet for birdie on No. 4 (par 5, 582 yards) diverted Smith’s mind from the mistake madness. Despite playing a 9-iron safely to the middle of the No. 9 (par 3, 165 yards) green, Smith sagged his shoulders and shook his head. Maguire verified the landing spot as a fine location — a minimal bogey-threat.
The words worked. Smith buried a 25-footer for birdie to move to 3 under.
“I really was just trying to lag it down to the hole. I wasn’t trying to make it,” Smith, an incoming senior at Classical Academy High School, said. “It caught a piece of the hole and went in. That was a little bit of a bonus. That gave me momentum going into the back nine. That got me back into a comfortable space.”
Smith used that momentum to, like Bacha, card a bogey-free back nine. He converted an eight-footer for red on No. 13 (par 3, 178 yards) following a crisp 8-iron. A wedge from the front left of the No. 15 (par 4, 305 yards) green resulted in a three-footer for more red.
Like Bacha, Smith used a blazing putter in Round One to burst into qualifying contention. He totaled 23 putts, including a pair of tap-in birdies on Nos. 2 (par 5, 547 yards) and 4 (par 5, 582 yards).
Smith now heads to his second straight U.S. Amateur. He fell in the Round of 64 at Pebble Beach. Bacha will make his U.S. Amateur debut. He lost in a sudden-death playoff for a qualifying spot in 2018.
“It feels good to come back and get through. Last year was a stinger,” Bacha said.
In order to qualify, Smith decided to return to his East Coast roots. He lived in Leesburg, Va. for a decade. That’s where he met Pat Maguire, who works at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club in Leesburg.
Smith, who’s competed in two U.S. Junior Amateurs (2017-18), intended to return to California last night for the IMG Academy Junior World Championships. Monday’s five-hour delay — and his position on the leaderboard Tuesday morning — changed his plans.
“It was kind of a split decision. In the end, I guess it worked out,” Smith said.
An invitation to Pinehurst suggests that it did.
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 274 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
|Name, city, score||R1||R2||Total|
|Ryan Smith, Carlsbad, Calif.||68||71||139|
|Carson Bacha, York, Pa.||70||69||139|
|Alternates (in order)|
|Brock Kovach, Wyomissing, Pa.||69||71||140|
|*Calen Sanderson, Newtown, Pa.||74||68||142|
|Failed to qualify|
|*Connor Flach, Ellicott City, Md.||70||72||142|
|*J.D. Hughes, Carlisle, Pa.||72||70||142|
|Justin Feldman, Rockville, Md.||73||70||143|
|Ben Smith, Blain, Pa.||76||68||144|
|Danny Harcourt, Fanwood, N.J.||72||73||145|
|Peter Knade, Easton, Md.||73||72||145|
|Garrett Engle, Harrisburg, Pa.||72||73||145|
|Robert Falconer, Carlisle, Pa.||73||72||145|
|Matt Shevlin, Upper Darby, Pa.||77||68||145|
|Tyler Stahle, Philadelphia, Pa.||72||73||145|
|Luke Fayocavitz, Clark Summit, Pa.||70||77||147|
|Christopher Warner, Yardley, Pa.||75||72||147|
|Campbell Wolf, Mechanicsburg, Pa.||70||77||147|
|Sam Lape, Atlanta, Ga.||72||75||147|
|Gray Matthews, Raleigh, N.C.||74||73||147|
|Jeff Frazier, Mechanicsburg, Pa.||71||77||148|
|David Herbst, Mechanicsburg, Pa.||74||74||148|
|Ian Hildebrand, Purcellville, Va.||75||73||148|
|Conrad Von Borsig, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.||74||74||148|
|J.T. Barker, Bethlehem, Pa.||72||76||148|
|Olegs Garner, Augusta, Ga.||73||75||148|
|Attie Giles, Pinehurst, N.C.||74||74||148|
|Austin Schreffler, Dillsburg, Pa.||73||75||148|
|Adam Condello, Fairport, N.Y.||73||76||149|
|Trey Smith, North Chesterfield, Va.||72||78||150|
|Anthony Barr, Harleysville, Pa.||71||79||150|
|Caleb Bryant, New Freedom, Pa.||74||76||150|
|Zachary Henry, Front Royal, Va.||79||71||150|
|Garrett Whitfield, Johnson City, Tenn.||74||76||150|
|Tom Lape, Atlanta, Ga.||73||78||151|
|Thomas Mattaini, Lititz, Pa.||77||74||151|
|Trent Geritz, Towson, Md.||78||74||152|
|Andrew Romano, Depew, N.Y.||74||78||152|
|Mitchell Faulkner, Bradford, Pa.||78||76||154|
|Kyle Quagliero, Southampton, N.J.||75||79||154|
|Grant Gronka, Bloomsburg, Pa.||73||81||154|
|Matthew Monastero, Leesburg, Va.||77||77||154|
|Shaun Fedor, Lancaster, Pa.||75||80||155|
|Andrew Curran, Media, Pa.||80||76||156|
|Thomas Romano, Depew, N.Y.||78||79||157|
|Tyler Cottle, Elizabethtown, Pa.||80||78||158|
|Garrett Barilar, Bloomsburg, Pa.||75||83||158|
|Jordan Albright, Tyrone, Pa.||82||80||162|
|Daniel Tennekoon, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||79||84||163|
|Kyle Kegerreis, Fayetteville, Pa.||82||82||164|
|Brandon Berry, Great Falls, Va.||71||WD||WD|
|Oliver White, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.||75||WD||WD|
|Andreas Aivazoglou, Glen Mills, Pa.||76||WD||WD|
|Nick Vecellio, Fogelsville, Pa.||78||WD||WD|
|Andrew Wallace, Narberth, Pa.||78||WD||WD|
|Jason Wilson, Orefield, Pa.||78||WD||WD|
|Jack Buan, St. Louis Park, Minn.||79||WD||WD|
|Jesse Hazam, Mechanicsburg, Pa.||79||WD||WD|
|James Rattigan, Jupiter, FL||79||WD||WD|
|Jonathan Wilson, Dallas, Pa.||79||WD||WD|
|Curtis Congdon, Clifton, Va.||80||WD||WD|
|William Walde, Washington, D.C.||80||WD||WD|
|Dylan Audi, Sinking Spring, Pa.||81||WD||WD|
|JohnA. Newcomb, Jr., Odenton, Md.||81||WD||WD|
|Kris Patton, Scottsdale, Ariz.||82||WD||WD|
|Tyler Wassell, Lancaster, Pa.||82||WD||WD|
|Duane Bean, Lovettsville, Va.||83||WD||WD|
|Matthew Mancini, Douglassville, Pa.||83||WD||WD|
|Timothy Gerard, Ashburn, Va.||95||WD||WD|
|Geoff Castleton, Centreville, Va.||WD||WD||WD|
|Erik Bertrand, Pittsburgh, Pa.||WD||WD||WD|
|Kyle Cox, Carrollton, Texas||WD||WD||WD|
|Alex Wedding, Arlington, Va.||WD||WD||WD|
|Clayton Davidson, Mechanicsburg, Pa.||WD||WD||WD|
|Ryan Feldman, Rockville, Md.||WD||WD||WD|
|Jun Lee, York, Pa.||79||NS||NS|
|Scott Falatach, Annapolis, Md.||81||NS||NS|
|Tyler Marchese, Moscow, Pa.||NS||NS||NS|
|Josh Wiegandt, Dana Point, Calif.||NS||NS||NS|
|* — determined in playoff|
|NS — no show; WD — withdrawal|