DeChambeau, Bard reach US Amateur final
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) — NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau and Derek Bard will meet in the U.S. Amateur final on Sunday.
DeChambeau, the SMU player from Clovis, California, defeated Sean Crocker, a sophomore at Southern California, 4 and 3 Saturday in the semifinal at Olympia Fields. Bard, a junior at Virginia from New Hartford, New York, beat Kenta Konishi of Tokyo 3 and 2.
DeChambeau and Bard will play the 36-hole championship match on the club's North Course.
For DeChambeau, it's an opportunity to join Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore as winners of the NCAA title and the U.S. Amateur in the same year.
"To be in that group of players would be incredible, but I still have work to do," DeChambeau said. "I'm just going to play my game."
DeChambeau was 2 up after Crocker's bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes. Crocker cut the gap to 1 hole with a birdie at the par-4 11th. But DeChambeau won three straight holes, with birdies on the 12th and 14th, to go 4 up with four holes to play.
Both players made par on the par-3 15th, which sealed the victory for DeChambeau.
A physics major who plays with a set of irons all cut to 6-iron length, DeChambeau was the equivalent of 3-under on his 15 holes and is 18-under in five match-play rounds.
"It'll be a fun battle," DeChambeau said of the title match. "If I can stay in the moment, I'll be all right."
Bard won the 12th, 14th and 15th holes to go 3 up after Konishi bogeyed the 12th and 15th. Bard had built a 2-up lead through nine holes, but lost it when Konishi birdied the 10th and Bard double-bogeyed the 11th.
"I'm the underdog," Bard said of his title matchup. "Bryson has had an incredible career so far. It's going to be tough, it really is. I told my dad, `I'm going to have to play my best golf to have a chance.'"
Konishi, entering his senior year at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai City, Japan, lost the first hole and trailed Bard throughout the match.
"All day, he hit it straight," Konishi said through an interpreter. "Sometimes, the opponent makes mistakes, and he didn't make a mistake."
Crocker saw missing fairways as the key to his defeat.
"On holes when I missed the fairway, Bryson was in the fairway," he said.
As U.S. Amateur finalists, DeChambeau and Bard are expected to receive invitations to next year's Masters.
"It's been my dream since I was a little kid to play in the Masters as a professional," Bard said. "I didn't think I'd be doing that at age 20."