Reigning NCAA champ Langley ousts Jackson in U.S. Amateur stroke play

Tim Booth
Associated Press


Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | 8:06 p.m.

Amory Davis needed a missed 4-footer and then a birdie on the second playoff hole just to reach the match play portion of the U.S. Amateur. Then nearly seven hours after he first arrived at Chambers Bay on Wednesday, Davis knocked out the top seed in match play.

Davis, a senior at Virginia, beat medalist Jeff Wilson 3 and 1 late in the afternoon to finish out the first round of match play, wrapping up a lengthy day along the shores of Puget Sound.

"I've always known match play was my gig, because I hit it long and crooked, and I ... don't seem to be scared or nervous, so I can unleash it," Davis said. "If (Wilson) had run into somebody who was playing OK golf today, he would have smoked him. I played pretty good today."

Davis was part of a 16-for-6 playoff that determined the final entrants into match play. After five of the 16 had birdied the first playoff hole, Davis watched another hopeful miss a 4-footer that sent the playoff to another hole.

Davis was the only one to make birdie on the 460-yard 11th hole.

"I told myself, it was a good tournament, try and make a par," Davis said of the playoff. "(That) took a lot of the pressure off me, and (I) felt really, really calm in the playoff."

Davis and Wilson, a 47-year-old car dealer from Fairfield, Calif., who shot 10-under 62 in the first round of stroke play, were all square through six holes before Davis won three of the next four to take a 3-up lead after 10. Wilson won back two holes later in the round, including a 70-foot birdie putt on the 13th.

But Davis held off Wilson, making par on the par-3 17th to end the match. Davis said it was the first time he'd played in match play since he was 15.

"Amory, he played very well. He deserved to win the match," Wilson said. "He would have beat most players who played today."

Wilson was the first medalist to fall in the first round since 2001.

Earlier in the day, reigning NCAA champ Scott Langley outlasted 51-year-old Tim Jackson in 19 holes.

After Jackson forced extra holes with a par on the 515-yard par-4 18th hole, the duo was forced to play the daunting first hole yet again. Langley knocked his pitching wedge from 115 yards onto the putting surface after Jackson missed the green from nearly the same spot.

Langley, who won the NCAA individual title as a junior and was the low amateur at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, then let out a fist pump as his birdie putt dropped to win the match.

"I would rather have won it in less holes and saved energy," Langley said. "... As soon as I saw Tim's name I knew I was going to have to play well to beat him. We had quite the match."

Langley was one of the bigger names to get through the first day of match play. Defending champion Byeong-Hun An rolled to a 3 and 2 victory over David Dannelly in his first match, while Pac-10 co-player of the year Eugene Wong needed 19 holes to beat Joe Saladino. Wong rallied to win the final four holes of the match after being 3 down with just three to play. David Chung, winner of the Western Amateur just a few weeks ago, beat Mike McCoy 3 and 2.

In the afternoon, the Oklahoma State duo of Peter Uihlein and Morgan Hoffmann advanced, along with Patrick Cantlay, who finished tied for second in stroke play.

Others weren't as fortunate. Local favorite and Hogan Award winner Nick Taylor -- who played nearby at Washington -- lost to Chian Kim 4 and 2. Kevin Tway, the son of Champions Tour player Bob Tway and the 2005 U.S. Junior Amateur champ, was defeated 1-up by Blayne Barber.

Jackson was the low amateur at the U.S. Senior Open last month just up the road at Sahalee Country Club and finished ninth during stroke play here. He jumped out to a 2-up lead before Langley got up-and-down out of the greenside bunker on the ninth hole to trim the deficit. They were all square after the 16th, but Langley went ahead on No. 17 when his pitching wedge on the par 3 settled to 4 feet.

Jackson forced an extra hole by making a downhill 8-foot putt on the 18th after Langley's long par putt missed.

"I played well early and he played well in the middle holes and we both had chances. It came down to a putt (and) that's fun," Jackson said. "I'd like to be on the top side of that, but looking back I hit a lot of good shots and I competed well."