Jul 27, 2009

Reach’s run at U.S Junior Amateur comes to end

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News, Tournaments, USGA


  The clock ran out on Nicholas Reach, but not before he made quite a run at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. The 17-year-old Reach, a native of Moscow, Pa., who plays out of the Country Club of Scranton and Glenmaura National GC, won four matches before falling to James Hwang, 3&2, in the semifinals over the New Course on Friday at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J.

  It was Reach’s first and only appearance in the Junior Amateur; he will turn 18 in May of 2010.

  The junior-to-be at Scranton Prep left Trump National with a bagful of memories. “I competed against the best players in the world,” he said. “I know that I can compete with them.”

  Reach started his week with rounds of 69-79 for a 148 to tie for 23rd in stroke-play qualifying. He then won four matches in a span of two-and-and-half-days to reach the semifinals. His toughest test was a 1-up win over Colin Gunstream in the second round, a match which saw Reach build a 5-up lead through 10 holes before holding on for the win.

  His semifinal match against the 16-year-old Hwang, who was also playing in his first USGA event, was All Square after 11 holes.

  Hwang took the early lead when he drained a 25-foot birdie putt at the par-5 fourth, but gave up his advantage when he hit his approach over the green at the par-4 seventh and wound up in high fescue just outside a hazard. He wound up taking relief from a cart path, but still had trouble hacking out of the rough and wound up making double bogey.

  The match stayed All Square until Hwang won three straight holes, the 12th through the 14th, to take a 3-up lead.

  By this time Reach, who was playing his seventh competitive round in five days, could sense he was running out of gas. “I thought I did an all right job,” he said. “That’s a lot of golf in a couple days.”

  Reach won the par-5 15th to draw a bit closer but Hwang closed out the match with a birdie at the par-4 16th.

  It was the end of the week for Reach, but perhaps a springboard to greater rewards. “I’m not going to give up,” he said. “I’m just going to keep fighting harder.”

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