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2021 U.S. Amateur Championship Live Blog: News and Results




OAKMONT, Pa. — Follow here for running updates from the tournament, courtesy of Matt Gajtka, Alex Lehmbeck, Mike Darnay and Zac Weiss! Live scoring is here on the USGA website.

6:08: James Piot is your 121st U.S. Amateur champion winning 2 and 1 over Austin Greaser. Piot sank a medium-range par putt and Greaser failed to convert his birdie.

Plenty to come from Oakmont!

5:56: Piot is now dormie as the 34th hole was halved.

5:45: Greaser hit into the bunker off the tee and had to lay up. He was forced to layup. Piot hit the green on his approach and his par putt was conceded. Greaser missed his par attempt. Piot is 2 up with 3 to play. 

5:31: That is a big moment for Greaser. Piot had no stance and sticks his approach, a putt which was conceded. Greaser’s shot left a long par putt which he made snapping Piot’s streak of four holes won. Four holes remain and Piot remains 1 up.

5:20: Piot now is 1 up after 31 holes as Greaser hits his tee shot into the greenside bunker and misses his par putt.

5:12: And we are all square again. Greaser had a tough putt that went past and another lipout.

4:53: Both had great looks for birdie but miss low. Greaser’s putt sailed past and coming back suffers his fourth lipout of the match. His lead is now 1 up.

4:41: Piot still has a lot of fight left. He wins the 28th hole and now is 2 down.

4:30: The ball-striking advantage for Greaser continues to pay. He makes a two-putt par on the ninth from the intermediate cut, while Piot bogeyed from the left-side fescue. The Tar Heel is 3 up at the turn on the second 18.

4:20: Classic touché moment at No. 8. Greaser threw a driving-iron dart at the 288-yard behemoth, leaving 20 feet. Then he watched Piot drive a 3-wood into the center of the putting surface as well. Hole halved with very solid pars.

4:00: Piot appears to be teetering a bit, just relying on his scrambling ability too much to keep pace. But Greaser isn’t able to add to his lead, as suddenly his driving accuracy has abandoned him. Still a 2-up lead for him through 7.

3:23: Greaser extends the lead to 2 up with a birdie on the 22nd hole. He flashed the slightest smile to some of his family and friends walking to the next tee.

2:55: Piot goes into the bunker on the 20th hole and Greaser redeems himself from what happened on the same hole during the first 18. Greaser is now 1 up. 

2:45: As a reminder moving forward, the first hole will be called the 19th and so on. Piot went forward right off tee and Greaser won the hole, so we are back to all square.

2:10: Just a reminder that the televised portion of the match will begin at 3 p.m. on Golf Channel and then switch to NBC at 4 p.m.

12:55: Piot and Greaser both hit the green in regulation, but Greaser’s 30-footer slides at least 15 feet past. He misses the comebacker, then concedes the hole. Piot carries a 1-up advantage into the afternoon 18.

Greaser is out-driving Piot consistently — including another blast onto the green at 14 for a two-putt birdie — but Piot has been close to air-tight around the greens. It’s enough for a narrow lead at the lunch break. Back on the first tee at 2:30!

12:40: Both men fail to get up and down on the short par-4 17th, so they halve with pars.

12:30: Piot earns a sand save, and Greaser is given lip service for a third time and we are back to all square.

12:20: Greaser is now in front 1 up heading to 16. This is his second lead thus far in the match. Piot lipped out a five-foot par putt after running his long-side chip past.

James Piot watches his tee shot on 1 sail right of the fairway. He’d make par. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

12:07 p.m.: If you hear that sigh of relief, that was NBC which has the rights for the U.S. Amateur championship. Piot hit the uphill slope on his second and Greaser drove the green, finishing with an academic par. We are square again.

11:53: Greaser passed the test on the par-5 12th. He had a downhill putt to square the match on 13 but was unable to convert. Piot is 1 up.

11:28: This is Greaser’s first true test of the day. He missed the fairway and did not manage the downhill lie from the rough. His chip nearly sailed off the green and he missed the putt coming back. A disappointed “you’re good” immediately followed and Piot is 2 up.

10:55: Halfway home in the opening 18, all square. Piot makes three consecutive solid pars to end the outward nine, while Greaser is suddenly scrambling, having missed three straight greens.

10:10: That was by far the loudest ovation of the day as Greaser holes in from the bunker on 5. From the sixth tee box, there was an audible “it’s going in” and sure enough it dropped. Greaser now has his first lead of the morning at 1 up.

Austin Greaser sinks his bunker shot on the fifth hole for a 1-up lead. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

9:45: Piot can barely advance the ball from the bunker on 3. Though he pulled his approach left, Greaser plays the hole in par and the match is all square.

9:30: Greaser hit a perfect drive but fell victim to Oakmont’s second green which rolled his ball off into a pitching collection area and nearly duplicated the effort on his third. A lip out gives Piot a 1 up advantage.

9:00: And we are off here at Oakmont. Weather a bit on the chilly side, with overcast skies. First-tee jitters are out of the way. Austin Greaser and James Piot were all smiles and exchanged a friendly handshake on the tee.

Greaser pipes one down the left side; Piot flares one right. But they both make par.

7:30 a.m.: This is it, the final day of One Week in Oakmont. Thank you for following our coverage. It’s a cliché, but this has been a labor of love for all of us. Long days but great fun.

Before we see the dramatic conclusion, make sure to click and gawk at more Oakmont glamour through Mike’s trained lens in his semifinal photo gallery.

And to help set up the 36-hole matchup today, take a look at Alex’s story on two competitors trained in quite different ways.

All four of us are on site today. In the immortal words of Bob Barker, let’s play some golf.

6:00: Austin Greaser makes birdie on 17 after driving it on the fringe, taking the match 2 and 1 against Travis Vick. Greaser v. Piot tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. for all the Primanti’s.

Story to come from Alex Lehmbeck.

James Piot meets the media after his semifinal victory. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

5:35: James Piot wins his semifinal against Nick Gabrelcik 4 and 3, making par on the 500-yard par-4 15th.

Vick is still alive in the other semi, bagging a par on the challenging par-3 16th. Greaser is just 1 up after dropping two holes in a row.

5:00: How quickly things can change in match play. Greaser has nabbed three holes in a row from the suddenly-stumbling Vick, who nearly left one in the greenside bunker at 13. Make it four in a row after Greaser drives the green on 14; that’s a first for that this week!

The second match has turned in a hurry as well, with Piot surging to a 3-up advantage through 12. Could we have a pair of results within the hour?

4:20: Vick goes back to the well on 10, hitting his drive into the 11th fairway. (He’s hit into ‘alternate’ fairways a few times this week.) A wedge and a putt later and he makes birdie to edge ahead of Greaser again.

4:00: Vick and Greaser make the turn all square after the latter got in trouble off the tee on the challenging par-4 ninth. The two men have tied just one of the past seven holes, as the rhythm switches back and forth.

Meanwhile, Gabrelcik finds the penalty area off the ninth tee and can only advance it into the cross bunker. Piot is about to grab his third lead of the afternoon.

3:15: Early edges for Vick (1 up through five) and Piot (1 up through four). Unforced error from Greaser, who three-putted from 20ish feet to hand the short par-4 fifth to Vick.

Reminder that you can watch the telecast on Golf Channel until 4, upon which NBC takes over until 6.

2:20 p.m. Saturday: Mike and Alex are back on site for semifinal Saturday!

Both of our matches — Austin Greaser vs. Travis Vick and James Piot vs. Nick Gabrelcik — are off the first tee.

Great day for golf, wouldn’t you say? (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

7:30: Stories from Matt on a softer Oakmont still turning up the heat, and from Alex on a lot of fight shown by one of the players who didn’t make it through.

6:40: The Saturday semifinals are set and we’re back on schedule. Wow … we made it through the day with no rain!

Vick ended up surviving a late rally from Stark, winning 1 up. The two competitors split the 18th hole with bogeys, so Stark is going to have a painful recall of this one for a while, we presume.

So it’ll be Vick vs. Greaser in the first semi tomorrow, teeing off at 2 p.m.

The 2:20 semi tomorrow will feature Gabrelcik, a 1-up survivor of Chatfield just now, against Michigan State’s Piot. Piot won the final three holes from Sharpstene, a one-time WVU Mountaineer who transferred to UNC Charlotte.

5:00: Matt was following the Vick-Stark battle; Vick has been putting himself out of position repeatedly over the past several holes, but Stark hasn’t been able to take advantage outside of a stiff approach on 11.

Vick has responded to the reprieve by putting the pedal down, making a routine par on 14 after Stark bunkered his approach to the par 3. Then on the short par-4 14th, both players intentionally played well right of the fairway, but Stark bounced into the ditch and Vick was in the 18th fairway.

Stark bogeyed; Vick birdied; it’s a 3 up lead for the Longhorn.

4:44: Zac reports Greaser has closed out Steelman 2 and 1. He did so in front of a gallery that made a trip from a little over four hours away. They roared with approval upon the finish.

Following the round, Greaser was given high fives, hugs and knuckles from the dozen plus in attendance which included, family, girlfriend and friends.

“I think I really like where my mental game is at a lot,” Greaser said. “I just really have a lot of confidence in myself. I’m believing in myself a lot, my ability, and just kind of doing what I do.

“I mean, doing what I practice for. Just letting the chips fall where they fall. Like I said earlier, they’re falling my way right now, so keep the same mindset and game plan and just play my best.”

Greaser will face the winner of the Travis Vick-Brian Stark quarterfinal which the former leads 2 up through 13 holes.

Nick Gabrelcik tees off on No. 10 in the Round of 16 on Friday morning. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

3:45: About halfway home in the quarterfinals. Greaser is 1 up on Steelman through 14, Vick leads Stark by 1 at the turn, Piot and Sharpstene are level through eight, and Gabrelcik is 2 up on Chatfield on the sixth tee.

Notably, Vick visited the drainage penalty areas on 8 and 9, but escaped with his lead intact after Stark made consecutive bogeys.

2:33: To say it has been an eventful week for Hugo Townsend would be a massive understatement as the Swede carried his own bag through the first two rounds of match play through triple-digit real-feel temperatures and multiple weather stoppages.

He came back in the morning to finish the final hole and then was able to find a caddie in The Athletic’s Brendan Quinn.

Quinn had interviewed Townsend and asked if he needed a caddie to help take a literal load off his shoulders.

“I said ‘sweet, I’ll take you up on it, I’m kind of tired now,'” Townsend said. “I felt it after 36 holes yesterday and if I’m going to advance further I wouldn’t mind some help. I told him if I won my match this morning, I’ll take him on the bag. I won the last hole and he took the bag for the afternoon.”

Townsend admitted that though his hopes were reasonably high and he had experience making it into the second round of last year’s match play at Bandon Dunes, that he was tired and his body needed rest.

Through the tiredness and heat, Townsend concentrated on his approach shot into the 18th hole where despite several members of the gallery ducking, it was inside of five feet. Townsend was able to make the putt with Quinn offering a supportive fist pump.

“That was probably was the one good shot I hit all day it was fun to do with the crowd and cameras on,” said Townsend. “It was a good moment and I felt like I was living on the edge the whole match and to get to 18, was pretty good at least.”

The 10th hole served as the playoff between himself and Nick Gabrelcik. With the latter far down in the fairway, Townsend hit from the rough and his approach finished long. Despite the entire gallery still walking down the fairway Gabrelcik stuck his second shot and cleaned up the rest for birdie, ending Townsend’s journey.

Having had an active five months, Townsend now looks forward to returning to Boise State and taking at least a week off resetting his mind by hitting the gym and enjoying time with his friends.

“I came as far as I could and obviously the match I played today wasn’t my best,” he said. “I was fortunate to get into the playoff at least and I had a feeling the guys at the top are playing well and if I didn’t linger my way through the matches that I may get beat soon enough. At least I made a decent run at it and it was fun.”

2:20: Though the U.S. Amateur certainly provides its fair share of unpredictability, there is still is a fair share of so-called “chalk”, something Travis Vick provided with a 3 and 2 victory over Jose Islas. Vick is seeded fourth based upon his two rounds of stroke play.

“I got off to a good start and won the first hole,” he said. “He missed a putt on 2 and then I won 3, so got 2 up early, and then kind of just tried to hold on for the rest of the day.”

Given the mental warfare that surrounds the U.S. Amateur, Vick has found a routine which has allowed him to focus on golf when on the course and unwind when off.

Throughout the round it was evident that Vick was using AimPoint Putting and when the subject was brought up, he enthusiastically nodded.

“These greens are kinda hard to read,” said Vick. There’s not a lot of color changes in the green, it’s just super green. There’s not a lot of grain you can see, so I use my feet to give me a good idea of where my start line would be for that putt. I think it helps a little bit. I think you can kinda stick to a routine, and once you go through that AimPoint routine, you can calm the nerves and just feel like you’re playing another day of golf in Austin.”

Vick is back on the course 1 up through three holes in his quarterfinal match against Brian Stark.

2:00: Gabrelcik prevails on the 19th hole (actually the 10th, but you know what we mean), knocking a flighted wedge to two feet for the winning birdie.

Moments later, Chatfield beats Bling as the latter can’t convert a four-foot par putt on 18. Palmer Jackson’s four-ball partner is into the quarterfinals.

1:30: Zac and Matt just watched Vick close out Islas, 3 and 2, with a solid par on the long par-3 16th. Stark smashed Blunt, 6 and 5, Piot eliminated Hutchison, 4 and 3, and Sharpstene outlasted Holmgren with a par on the 18th.

Oakmont’s clubhouse hole hasn’t seen much traffic today, but two matches in a row just made it there, as Gabrelcik and Townsend are tied and will head to No. 10 for extra holes. Zac is following that match.

Alex is over on 17 as Chatfield is trying to finish a comeback from 3 down. He’s got Bling 1 down at the short par-4 17th.

11:53: We have two winners as Steelman has bested Castillo 3 and 2 and Greaser just put the finishing touches on his victory over Bridgeman 6 and 4. Greaser birdied three of the match’s final five holes.

11:40: Zac (finally) checking in with slightly less heavy pockets thanks to Oakmont’s merchandising area.

Checking out the layout, it is definitely a unique experience that there are not many ropes on the course. Fans can get even closer to the action in comparison to a regular event. It is easier to spot putting breaks or even hear dialogue between players and caddies respectively.

11:30: Most of the Round of 16 matches are at least halfway through their rounds. Our highest seed, Vick, just expanded his lead over Islas to 2 up with a birdie on 10. Perfect tee shot and an even better approach to one of the few scoreable holes on the course.

Our biggest leads are 4 up, with Stark over Blunt and Dayton, Ohio’s Greaser over Bridgeman.

9:00: Early results are pouring in. The Round of 16 is set.

Ricky Castillo (Florida) prevails over Goetz-slayer David Nyfjall in extra holes, while stroke-play medalist contender Jacob Bridgeman (Clemson), Vick, Mexico’s José Islas, Brian Stark (Oklahoma State), Grayson Blunt (Sam Houston), Thomas Hutchison (UC Davis), Matthew Sharpstene (UNC Charlotte), Nick Gabrelcik (North Florida), Sweden’s Hugo Townsend (Boise State), Devon Bling (UCLA) and Davis Chatfield (Notre Dame) are all through.

With Gabrelcik’s win over Michael Thorbjornsen, Vick, Stark, Bridgeman and Holmgren are the lone top-10 seeds left in the tournament. Vick is the top seed, as he finished fourth in stroke play.

7 a.m. Friday: It was a stormy night across the region, but the 12 remaining Round of 32 matches are set to resume play early this morning. Once those are concluded, the USGA plans to send its Round of 16 battles off both 1 and 10 tees; this is the first year that’s ever been done in this event.

As far as we’re told, the plan is still to have Sunday be reserved for the final, so we’re looking at a busy next couple of days. And yes, scattered storms are still in the forecast for today and tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

Parker Coody, who’s 2 down to his University of Texas teammate Travis Vick through 15 holes, said that while the delays are just something golfers know how to manage, the condition of the course suddenly isn’t very Oakmont-like.

“Everyone here has dealt with rain delays,” he said. “The biggest thing was learning the course this match compared to when I played Monday. Completely different course. Fairways are holding. Greens are night and day. Even this morning out of the rough I stopped a wedge from within 12 feet of where it landed.”

6:30: With another lightning delay upon us, we do have a couple of players who’ve moved on to tomorrow’s Round of 16.

Ross Steelman (Georgia Tech), Austin Greaser (North Carolina), James Piot (Michigan State) and Van Holmgren (Florida Gulf Coast), all Americans, are all through. Nyfjall, who spoiled the Goetz hometown story, was locked with Ricky Castillo on the 20th hole of their match when the rains returned.

3:00: The storm has cleared and the Round of 32 has begun! Here are some storylines to follow from those still alive this afternoon …

• Brent Phillips (Georgia) and Travis Vick (Texas) both placed in the top three at the recent Sunnehanna Amateur in Johnstown, with Phillips winning the prestigious tournament.
• Canada’s Xavier Marcoux (Rutgers) just knocked out last year’s finalist, Ollie Osborne.
• Wake Forest rising senior Alex Fitzpatrick of England caddied for his brother Matthew when he won the U.S. Am in 2013.
• Luke Potter of Encinitas, Calif., is the youngest player in the field, at 16 years old. He’s committed to Arizona State.
• Michael Thorbjornsen, the reigning Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year at Stanford, has won the past two major amateur tourneys he’s entered, and he came from three holes down to win his Round of 64 match.

1:15: Lightning in the area, so play is suspended. This is our third delay in as many days.

While you wait, read Alex’s story on Goetz’s Round of 64 defeat.

12:45 p.m.: Well, the top two seeds are now out, as second-seeded Brian Ma of Harvard just got eliminated, 2 and 1 by UCLA’s Eddie Lai.

No. 3 seed Michael Thorbjornsen of Stanford nearly met the same fate, but he turned a 3-down deficit to Vanderbilt star Harrison Ott into a 2-up win after sweeping holes 13 through 17.

Michael Thorbjornsen walks up the 17th fairway after hitting is drive into a greenside bunker. Thorbjornsen was able to get up and down to make birdie and win the match. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

11:15: Goetz is eliminated from the U.S. Amateur, 1-down to Nyfjall. Goetz lost the last four holes, three-putting the 15th to start his downfall. He visited bunkers on 17 and 18, leading to bogeys on both.

Story to come from Alex and Mike, who were there every step of the way on that heartbreaking back nine for the Greensburgian.


10:30: Goetz has surged with three straight winning holes on the back nine. He’s 3 up on Nyfjall after sticking one to five feet on 14.

8:30 a.m. Thursday: Finally, we’ll have our first full day of match play. It’s looking like an absolute scorcher, but we’ll take that over the rain that’s plagued the past two days here.

Mike Darnay was on campus early and Alex Lehmbeck is ready for another day of dogged reporting. Take a look at Mike’s stroke-play gallery, if you missed it!

The top story right now is that our top seed Mark Goetz is now trailing 64th-seeded David Nyfjall, 1-down through eight holes. Goetz won the second hole yesterday but a couple of bogeys since have handed his Swedish opponent a narrow edge. As noted yesterday, Goetz is our region’s last hope for a hometown champion in this event.

The USGA is going to try to get back on schedule by the weekend, so expect the Round of 32 matches to begin later this afternoon. Initially, we were supposed to pare the field down to eight by tomorrow morning, but that’s not going to happen now.

Again, day passes for the remainder of the event are $27 per day, and Golf Channel will have coverage from 4-6 this afternoon.

It’s finally time for match play. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

8:30: Nightfall at Oakmont! Goetz and Nyfjall are all square through four. The only match completed was Ricky Castillo’s 5-and-4 defeat of Donald Kay.

We shall resume at 7:30 tomorrow morning.

5:45: David Nyfjall of Sweden and Northwestern University will be Goetz’s first-round opponent. Set to begin at 7 p.m.

5:30: Follow Alex’s Twitter for all your stroke-play playoff needs. He also gives us a couple of match-play collisions to watch …

4:30: We made it. Match play begins concurrently with that 12-golfer playoff for the 64th seed. Fortunately just one spot is up for grabs, so the USGA can get other matches rolling.

Goetz is scheduled to tee off No. 1 at 7 p.m., so unless there’s a withdrawal, he’s not going to finish tonight. Players have hit shots up until about 8:30 p.m. this week.

2:30: Next update coming at 3. Here’s what the match-play bracket looks like. Keep in mind those times aren’t going to be accurate. We’re almost two hours into this weather delay, so knock those times back at least that much.

1:20: While we wait on the rain, the USGA has handed out the match-play bracket — missing Goetz’s unknown opponent, of course. What we do know is that he was scheduled to play at 3:30 p.m. That obviously won’t happen now.

12:55: Airhorn! It’s another weather delay, our second in two days. Looks like a thunderstorm cell is blowing through the Allegheny River valley.

12:50: While we wait on that playoff, here’s Matt’s story on the USGA today designating Oakmont as its second ‘anchor site’ for future championships. What’s it mean? Click the link.

12:05 p.m.: Looks like we’re about to see an 12-for-1 playoff for the 64th seed in the match play. Included is full-time NHL official Garrett Rank, who’s a veteran of high-level amateur golf. Winner of all this gets Goetz.

11:45: Mark Goetz is your U.S. Amateur stroke-play medalist. Alex has the story here, including some additional color on the challenge of Oakmont from Sunnehanna Am winner Trent Phillips.

Interesting nugget as we wind down Round 2: Oakmont played about two strokes easier on average than Round 1, dropping from an average of 77 to 75. Longue Vue, on the other hand, bumped from 71ish up to 72.

Those who started at Longue Vue definitely had the good side of the draw. As Sean Knapp said yesterday, “That’s golf.”

10:30: Matt was following Meyers and Bangor at Longue Vue. Meyers ended up shooting even there, so he’s 4 over for the tournament. Looking like the cut will creep to 3 over, however.

Bangor, meanwhile, played his final eight holes in 3 over, ending at 7 over for the stroke play. The Sewickley native’s tournament is over.

Better than average chance Goetz ends up being our only local competitor in the round of 64. By the way, we’re told by the USGA that the match play will start no earlier than 12:45. A playoff will likely be needed to determine the final spots in the bracket.

10 a.m.: Well, there it is. Goetz is in the clubhouse with a 2-under 68, the lowest round at Oakmont yet, although there are three players on the course — Michael Thorbjornsen, Brian Ma, Travis Vick and Brian Stark — who are 2 under on their Oakmont rounds.

Goetz said that’s his lowest round here by three shots. Nice time for it. He ends up at 8 under for 36 holes, currently one up on Thorbjornsen and Ma, and two up on Vick and Stark.

Stanford rising sophomore Michael Thorbjornsen is making a morning charge. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

7 a.m. Wednesday: After a rain-interrupted Tuesday, we’re still a ways from figuring out who will advance to match play, which is still scheduled to start today. Round 2 of stroke play will resume here and at Longue Vue in a half hour.

In speaking to USGA officials yesterday, there’s almost always a playoff for the final few spots, but they reserve the right to begin matches for players already assured of making it through. So we could have some overlap in order to stay close to the schedule.

Speaking of advancement, only one local player is essentially assured of finishing in the top 64, and that’s the current leader Goetz. He has six holes to play after starting on No. 10 yesterday afternoon.

Peters Township grad and just-matriculated Oregon alum Jake Sollon is at 4 over for the tournament after shooting 2-over 72 at Oakmont. Strong effort for the aspiring pro, but we’ll have to see if that’s good enough for a playoff.

Carnegie Mellon alum Ian Bangor is still in this thing, too. He’s through 10 holes at Longue Vue and sits at 4 over for the tourney. That’s above the projected cut line but tied for 85th place. As of right now, everyone at 2 over is assured at least a spot in a playoff.

Don’t rule out the Wexford-raised duo of Jimmy Meyers and Kevin O’Brien. They’re both at 5 over with five holes remaining; Meyers is 1 over in his round at Longue Vue, while O’Brien is 5 over through 13 holes at Oakmont.

As always, we’ll do our best to keep you abreast of the situation. Matt and Alex will have reporting today. ICYMI: Here’s Matt’s farewell to a couple of local luminaries, Sean Knapp and Palmer Jackson.

8 p.m.: Play has been suspended for darkness, with Greensburg’s Goetz atop the leaderboard by two. He’ll have six holes to play, re-starting tomorrow morning at 7:30, as he tries to clinch medalist honors and enter match play as the No. 1 seed.

Both Goetz and Texas’ Travis Vick are 3 under in their second rounds, on pace for the best rounds of the week at Oakmont. Recent Arizona grad Brad Reeves just polished off a 70 here; he’s the leader in the clubhouse at 5 under.

Also of note: Seneca Valley grad and Cranberry native Matt Vogt is trying to rally at Longue Vue after shooting 81 yesterday at Oakmont. He’s four under in Round 2 with five holes left, but probably needs three more birdies to make match play.

See you in the a.m.!

Greensburg’s Mark Goetz carries a two-shot lead into Wednesday morning. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

6:30 p.m.: The scoreboard is revealing some storylines, suddenly. For one, Goetz is now tied at the top after playing his first six holes at even, since Bridgeman has fallen back with a bogey at the first.

Also, we just had a couple of nice rounds wrap up over at 18.

Georgia Bulldog star Trent Phillips, who won the Sunnehanna Amateur two months ago, shot 69 to finish 36 holes at 1 under. That’s almost assuredly through to match play, since he’s tied for 22nd.

UCLA’s Devon Bling is also at 1 under for the tournament after shooting even-par 70. It was anything but level at the end, though, as he finished eagle-double. The course is certainly softer, since he spun his third shot off the 18th green.

5:20 p.m.: We are poised to restart! Final time of rain delay will be 3 hours, 40 minutes.

This photo from Mike symbolizes the day so far.

Raindrops falling at the Oakmont CC clubhouse. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

4:30 p.m.: Here’s Matt’s postmortem on the too-short weeks for Knapp and Jackson.

3:45 p.m.: The rain has picked back up. We’re still in a delay. This almost guarantees that stroke play will have to be finished tomorrow morning, both here and at Longue Vue.

3 p.m: The practice green and practice facilities are now open, as the rain has stopped. In the meantime, we have some breaking-ish news from the Post-Gazette‘s Gerry Dulac:

Per our Alex Lehmbeck, the official announcement will come Wednesday at 11 a.m. We already knew that the men’s U.S. Open was returning here in 2025, but the USGA is apparently ready to make this more of a frequent stop.

1:40 p.m: Annnnnnd there’s the airhorn. We’re in a delay.

1:10 p.m.: Just heard from the first-tee official that there could be some storms blowing through soon.

Meanwhile, Knapp (11 over) and Jackson (12 over) limped home and will miss out on match play. Story coming from Matt on both men and what went wrong with their hometown U.S. Amateur chances.

(Photo Credit: Mike Darnay/Pittsburgh Golf Now)

12:30 p.m.: Action’s picking up near the clubhouse. Jason Li, Carnegie Mellon stud and finalist for the 2021 NCAA D-III player of the year award, just teed off on 1. The Sewickley native shot 3 over at Longue Vue yesterday, so he’s got to step on the gas pedal here.

Also, speaking of the Tartans, 2013 CMU graduate Ian Bangor of Moon Township is at 3 over starting his round at Longue Vue.

On No. 10, Goetz will be starting his second round, one back of the lead still held by Jacob Bridgeman, who tees off at 2:05 p.m. O’Brien is set to fire off that tee, too.

Also, Knapp and Jackson will be finishing their rounds in the next half hour, so we’ll hear from them after they sign their cards. They’re both out of match play contention after being unable to climb the board.

Weather update: The wind is starting to howl under cloudy skies, but the temperature isn’t quite as sizzling as yesterday. Course looks a little softer.

10:30 a.m.: There are a handful of players under par at Oakmont this morning — for what it’s worth, the front side played slightly easier yesterday — but no upward movement from Jackson or Knapp.

Both men are at 6 over for the tournament as they make the turn at the clubhouse. That’s tied for 197th, so their match-play chances are growing slimmer.

North Allegheny grad Kevin O’Brien tees off on No. 10. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

9 a.m.: Let’s catch up on a couple of familiar names that slipped through the cracks Monday. They all have some work to do to make Wednesday’s round-of-64 match play.

• Sean Knapp, the 59-year-old western Pennsylvania golf legend and 2017 U.S. Senior Amateur champion, shot 4-over 74 at Longue Vue, making just one birdie. He’s tied for 135th.

• Palmer Jackson, who Alex profiled over the weekend, is also playing from behind. He shot 6 over at Longue Vue, sunk by a triple bogey on this back nine, but he’s off to a 1-under start at Oakmont early this morning.

• Former North Allegheny golfer Sean Martens made three double bogeys at Oakmont on his way to an opening-round 77. He’ll need a big day at Longue Vue to move on.

• Central Catholic grad, 2019 WPGA Junior champ and James Madison U. rising junior Neal Shipley fired a 74 at Oakmont on Monday. He’s not in terrible shape, but again, he’ll have to go low to make the top 64.

• Kevin O’Brien, of North Allegheny and Seton Hall, shot even-par 70 at Longue Vue, so the 26-year-old is probably going to need one of the better rounds of the day at Oakmont to make match play.

7 a.m. Tuesday: OK, let’s reset!

Everyone who played Oakmont yesterday will get a crack at Longue Vue today, and vice versa. Here’s Matt’s look at a duplicitous Day 1, which saw Oakmont play more than five strokes tougher, on average.

Plot twist: We got some rain overnight, so perhaps Oakmont won’t be quite as firm and fast as it ended up Monday. Especially as the afternoon progressed, it seemed nearly impossible to break par.

If the moisture helps tame the Brute on Hulton Road, then those who got their crack at Longue Vue on Day 1 might just have an advantage. We shall see.

(Photo Credit: Mike Darnay/Pittsburgh Golf Now)

8 p.m.: From Alex Lehmbeck: With Longue Vue playing significantly less difficult than its counterpart, West Virginia fifth year Mark Goetz capitalized for a nearly flawless round of 64. Finishing 6-under for the day, he now sits in a tie for second place of the stroke play qualifying going into Tuesday.

Although Goetz recorded pars on his first three holes, he had gotten off to a good start with his most important club of the day: driver. He revealed that he had started using a new driver and 3-wood recently and felt strong with the big stick when he hit his first two fairways.

“We’ve done a pretty good job of getting something in my hands quickly and efficiently with all the backups with all the backups with equipment right now,” he said. “It’s really good. I’m starting to get really comfortable with it.”

A bomb off the fourth tee gave Goetz a “really good number” into the short par-5. He nestled one close to the pin, making the five-footer for an eagle to get in the red for the day. He never looked back from there, birdieing both remaining par 5s, the par-4 11th, and tricky par-3 16th. 

Goetz said Longue Vue set up perfectly for his reliable “low-bullet fades” today, but he knows a different monster awaits him the rest of the week. Although he’s got the local knowledge of Oakmont, Goetz said his practice is the only time he’s played the course this summer. Minutes after his early-morning round, he’d already heard about the carnage a few miles away.

“It’s showing its teeth for sure,” he said. “It’s the real deal. There’s nothing free out there.”

7:30 p.m.: It took almost all day, but we have an under-par score at Oakmont! Rising Vanderbilt sophomore Cole Sherwood birdied his last two holes, Nos. 8 and 9, to carry a 1-under 69 into the clubhouse.

“It was really just a fun day enjoying this beautiful golf course,” he said. “Everything is in perfect shape and you just feel like you’re taken care of. So it’s a really cool experience and I’m just trying to soak it all in, enjoy my time outside of the round.”

This is Sherwood’s first USGA event, and he got in as an alternate. Not bad, young man.

6 p.m.: With the course playing so difficult — golfers at Oakmont are averaging nearly 7 over so far — the players will be pushing dusk.

Luke Potter of Encinitas, Calif., reacts to a poor drive on 15. (Photo Credit: Mike Darnay/Pittsburgh Golf Now)

4 p.m.: Matt just got back from a walk around the back nine at Oakmont. Play being delayed by a few minutes as groundskeepers are adding some water to the greens. As a volunteer told Matt, “See that? They’re getting white.”

Still no one under par on Oakmont for the day, although a few players have gotten it into red figures on the front nine. Birmingham, Alabama’s Chris Devlin dropped to 2 under after a hole-in-one on No. 6, but a handful of bogeys around the turn ended that run for now — he’s 1 over heading into the homestretch.

2 p.m.: The tale of two courses continues. To this point just one player — University of Texas rising senior Parker Coody — has shot par at Oakmont. His 70 puts him in a tie for 35th, seven shots behind leader Jacob Bridgeman.

Some notable scores by local folks include 74s at Oakmont by Penn State’s Jimmy Meyers (Wexford) and WVU’s Etienne Papineau.

Goetz finished at 6 under, by the way, in a three-way tie for second with Highsmith and Englishman Alex Fitzpatrick. More from Goetz later today, from our Alex Lehmbeck.

12 p.m.: Local stud alert: West Virginia University rising fifth-year senior Mark Goetz, of Greensburg, is 3 under at the turn at the Longue Vue Club. He’s two off the lead held by Joe Highsmith. Live scoring can be found here. Matt wrote a feature on Goetz earlier this year; the Kiski School grad has helped lift the Mountaineers’ program to new heights.

Totally predictable: Seventeen of the 19 best scores on the board right now are playing at Longue Vue. Oakmont be showing its snarl early.

One of Oakmont CC’s distinguishing features — the clubhouse on top of the hill. (MIKE DARNAY/PGN)

7 a.m. Monday: Welcome to Pittsburgh Golf Now’s wire-to-wire coverage of the 2021 United States Amateur Championship!

First of all, thanks to the United States Golf Association for granting our site full media access to the planet’s premier amateur golf event. 312 golfers, from age 16 to 59, from 40 states and 24 countries, will be competing for the Havemeyer Trophy here at Oakmont Country Club.

This is the sixth time Oakmont has hosted the U.S. Am, tying it with Merion (outside Philadelphia) and the Country Club (Brookline, Mass.) for the most in the championship’s 121-year history. Oakmont is second behind only Merion when it comes to hosting USGA championships in general, as it’s also welcomed 11 total U.S. Opens (nine for men, two for women).

For those unfamiliar with the details of the event, or those in need of a refresher, the competition begins with 36 holes of stroke play to whittle the field down to the top 64. Over the next two days, each player will tee it up here at Oakmont CC for 18 holes, and down the road at Longue Vue Club in Verona for 18 more. Tee times for the first two rounds are listed here.

Starting Wednesday, the competition will switch over to match play, with all the remaining action taking place exclusively at Oakmont. Spectators will be permitted on the premises for all six match play rounds, finishing with Sunday’s 36-hole final. Tickets can be purchased here for $27 apiece.

Our photographer Mike Darnay has already scouted out the grounds at Oakmont during practice round access, with editor Matt Gajtka and Alex Lehmbeck joining the fun for Monday’s first round. Zac Weiss will contribute on-site reports later in the week, as well.

Keep checking back in this space as we’ll have updates on the action throughout the week. In addition, we’ll link all of our feature stories from the Oakmont grounds, starting with Alex’s look at one of the presumed contenders, Franklin Regional grad and Notre Dame star Palmer Jackson.

Let the games begin.

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