Thomas Edges Wyatt In U.S. Amateur

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. – In an all-Alabama showdown in the round of 16 at the United States Amateur Championship Thursday afternoon Justin Thomas used a birdie on the 17th hole to edge his teammate Bobby Wyatt 1 up the par-71, 7,409-yard Cherry Hills Country Club.

The 1-up win advances Thomas into the quarterfinals on Friday morning 9:30 a.m. (CDT) against ninth-seeded Oliver Gross of Australia. Gross defeated 40th-seed Bobby Leopold 2 and 1 Thursday evening. The Golf Channel will broadcast the quarterfinal matches on tape delay Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.

Both Thomas, an upcoming sophomore who was national player of the year last season, and Wyatt, an upcoming junior, return to Alabama for what is expected to be one of the nation's top teams again in 2012-13.

The Thomas/Wyatt match was hard-fought throughout with both golfers holding 2-up leads at different points in the match. Of the 18 holes contested, the pair managed to half only seven.

A par on the first hole got Wyatt to a quick 1-up lead. After Thomas squared the match with a birdie on No. 3, Wyatt won back-to-back holes with an eagle on No. 5 and a par on the sixth. Thomas fought back to win the seventh and eight holes to square the match once again.

Thomas, a native of Goshen, Ky., then went on a run of his own taking a 1-up lead at the 10th and a 2-up on the 12th hole. This time Wyatt was the one to battle back, winning the 13th and 15th holes to square the match for a third time. The two halved the 16th hole with par.

The birdie-4 on the 545-yard par-5 17th proved to be the difference for Thomas. Both players then made par on the 488-yard closing hole to finish off the win for Thomas.

Wyatt, a native of Mobile,, tied the U.S. Amateur record for the lowest 36-hole stroke-play scoring on Tuesday at 9-under-par 132. He then recorded a 4 and 2 win in the opening round of match play and a 2-up victory on Thursday morning in the round of 32.

Jerry Pate in 1974 is the only Alabama player to win a U.S. Amateur. Michael Thompson was the last Alabama player to reach the finals, finishing runner-up at The Olympic Club in 2007.

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