Commercial-free coverage of match play at a world-class seaside golf course, featuring 30-mph winds, a mid-am legend, and a bizarre rules incident? No thanks. Don’t want any more of that.

Amateur hour

After two rounds of stroke play, an 18-for-3 playoff, and three rounds of match play, we have arrived at the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur. It was a marathon day for everyone at Bandon Dunes on Thursday, but there will be just four matches on the course on Friday.

Quarterfinals Preview

Stewart Hagestad v. Tyler Strafaci

This match contains the potential story of the championship. Twenty-nine-year-old Stew Hagestad is on a quest to become the first mid-am (>25 years old) to win the U.S. Amateur since John Harris in 1993. Hagestad, the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, will face Georgia Tech’s Tyler Strafaci on Friday.

Strafaci knocked out Segundo Oliva Pinto in the Round of 16 after one of the strangest match endings we can remember. All square with Strafaci on the 18th hole, Pinto was preparing to hit his fourth shot from the greenside bunker when his caddie reached down and brushed the sand with his fingers, apparently testing it. The caddie told rules officials (and, afterwards, media members) that he did not touch the sand, but he was shown doing just that by multiple cameras. The penalty was a loss of hole, and Strafaci advanced to the quarterfinals.

In the golf world, the term “class act” has been spoiled by its application to players who don’t deserve it. But after losing in this weird and heartbreaking way, Pinto was an absolute class act.

Aman Gupta v. Michael Thorbjornsen

Oklahoma State’s Aman Gupta will take on rising Stanford freshman Michael Thorbjornsen in Friday’s second match. Thorbjornsen (No. 43) vastly outranks Gupta (No. 500) in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and has already won a USGA title, the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur. But Gupta has played great golf this week. He opened with a 64 on Monday and cruised into match play with a second-round 73. Five Oklahoma State Cowboys have won the U.S. Am in the past; is Gupta the sixth?

Matthew Sharpstene v. Philip Barbaree

Two lesser-known players will face off in the third match tomorrow. Sharpstene is a rising junior bound for Charlotte from West Virginia, and Barbaree is about to enter his NCAA-approved second senior season at LSU. Both players led their respective teams in scoring average last season, and both have sent big names packing this week. Sharpstene took out 2019 U.S. Amateur runner-up John Augenstein in the Round of 64; Barbaree beat Pepperdine star William Mouw in the Round of 16.

Charles (“Ollie”) Osborne v. Cameron Sisk

Both Osborne and Sisk have taken unconventional paths to the quarterfinals. Osborne needed a second-round 64 just to qualify for match play, while Sisk had to get through an 18-for-3 playoff on Wednesday morning to earn his spot. Since then, Sisk has been on a tear; none of his matches have even reached the 17th hole. Osborne will be no pushover, however. Although he’s just 20 years old, this is his second U.S. Amateur, and he also qualified for the 2019 Barracuda Championship on the PGA Tour in his hometown of Reno, Nevada.

Quick Hooks

Kirk Triplett added a Black Lives Matter sticker to his golf bag for this weekend’s Senior Players Championship at Firestone Country Club. Kirk and his wife Cathi have two adopted children, including a black son named Kobe. “I can’t possibly have the same connection to Black Lives Matters as LeBron James or other athletes promoting the message,” he told Golf Digest’s Joel Beall. “But I can understand why it’s important, and why I need to do my part.”

Zach Johnson, not to be confused with club pro Zach J. Johnson, earned the PGA Tour’s Payne Stewart Award for 2020. The award highlights one tour member each year for his commitment to character, charity, and sportsmanship. Press Release

As previously rumored, the 2020 Masters will take place without “patrons” or guests this November. Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley released the official statement on Wednesday morning. Let’s hope fans will be back on the grounds of ANGC next April.

Harold Varner III, Tom Hoge, and Roger Sloan lead through one round of the Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour. Leaderboard

Thomas Pieters opened the Celtic Classic with a 64 to take the lead on the European Tour. Edoardo Molinari (66), Guido Migliozzi (66), and Nicolas Colsaerts (67) are in the mix as well. Leaderboard

Tommy Gainey shot out of the gates on Thursday and finished off a bogey-free round of 62 to lead the Albertsons Boise Open on the Korn Ferry Tour. Leaderboard

Nicole Broch Larsen tops the Ladies Scottish Open through one round. Leaderboard’s Jonathan Wall (and a nice robot whose name we did not catch) tested a modern tour ball against an old balata ball. You’ll never guess the results!

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Donald Ross in the City: The Beverly Country Club – Set on the edge of the prehistoric Lake Chicago, the Beverly Country Club has some of the best land in the Chicago area. Originally a Donald Ross design, Beverly recently underwent a restoration under the hands of Tyler Rae and Ron Prichard. See the restoration!

Shotgun Start: A Spotlight on the “Original Bubba,” U.S. Amateur legend

The SGS Spotlight is back! With the U.S. Amateur this week, this Friday episode focuses on Bubba Dickerson, who won the U.S. Am during a legendary run in the summer of 2001. Brendan and Andy are joined by Bubba himself, Colin Sheehan, who is the golf coach at Yale and author of The United States Amateur: The History and Personal Recollections of Its Champions, and Steve Paramore, who played against Bubba in the 2001 Amateur. This episode is sponsored by the USGA’s new fan community, the Victory Club.

The episode traces Bubba’s upbringing in a one-stoplight town in Northeast Florida, his outcast approach to the AJGA, and his career at UF under Buddy Alexander. Then the summer of 2001 is covered in detail, including the Western Am he won after initially trying to pass on it, a motivating Walker Cup snub from a weird scheduling quirk, the mad dash and absurdity of having to qualify for the U.S. Am as the Western champion, and his week fending off “cocky” challengers to take the Havemeyer Trophy. Bubba’s rounds with Tiger at the subsequent Masters are recalled as well as the uphill battle to make it as a pro right as his distance advantage started to evaporate with the introduction of the new ball in late 2001. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Pro Shop

Watching the best amateurs in the world play Bandon Dunes is such a tease. It’s like looking at a beautiful photo of a course on your wall. And wouldn’t you know it, we have plenty of those! Shop our photography collection!