Tide Wins And Loses

The good news from Wednesday's first round of match play at the United States Amateur was that one University of Alabama golfer would advance to Thursday's second round. The bad news was that one Tide player would have to go home. That is because Crimson Tide teammates Joseph Sykora and Matthew Swan were paired against each other at Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

This year's United States Amateur is being played at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Three hundred and eight players qualified to compete in the prestigious tournament. The players played two rounds of stroke play Monday and Tuesday at Merion Golf Club and Philadelphia Country Club. After the two days of stroke play, the low 64 players advanced into match play.

Joseph Sykora, a sophomore from Daphne, shot 69-72 for a 141 total. That tied him for 5th. Matthew Swan, a freshman from Montgomery, shot 76-70 for a 146 total. Swan had to go into a playoff Wednesday morning to lock up a spot in the match play bracket.

Despite their being college teammates, the draw paired together Sykora, the 7th seed, and Swan, the 58th seed, to play one another in the first round of match play. Their match went back and forth down to the final hole. In the end it was Swan who won two-up.

Swan says it was different playing against a teammate.

"Last night Coach (Jay Seawell) said, ‘whatever you do, don't draw Joseph,' but it turned out we drew each other. It was fun, so win or lose, we both had fun."

Alabama golf coach Jay Seawell has been in Pennsylvania following his four players who qualified for stroke play.

"It was an agonizing day because I knew someone was going to lose," said Seawell of the misfortune of the draw. "And I knew each one of our guys there had the dream of winning the U.S. Amateur, so you knew that at the end of the day, one of them would be disappointed. But it was a great day for University of Alabama golf. It was center stage. I am very proud of how all our golfers represented us here, and I'm really excited for those guys (Swan and Sykora) and I'm excited for the future of University of Alabama golf."

Sykora, who will return to Tuscaloosa and classes, which began on Wednesday, will now prepare for Alabama's season opener which is in Knoxville September 13 at the University of Tennessee Tournament of Champions in a season he will look forward to, knowing the talent he will be playing alongside on the Alabama team this fall.

"Matt is going to be an awesome addition to our team, and I'm glad he is playing for us and not someone else. He's one of the top players coming in around the country," said Sykora who was joined in the U.S. Amateur by three Alabama teammates, Swan, sophomore Mark Harrell and 2005 senior Clint Provost.

Swan advances to play in Thursday morning's round of 32. He will square off against Michael Sim at 8:10 a.m. The Australian is ranked No. 2 in the world in amateur golf. If Swan is able to advance to the third round, fans can possibly watch his match as The Golf Channel will air, live, play from 3-5 p.m. CT.

The two finalists in the United States Amateur earn a berth in next years Masters and U.S. Open.

Alabama golfers have enjoyed success in the United States Amateur. In 1974, Alabama golfer Jerry Pate won the championship.

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