Ellis heads to U.S. Amateur match play

Kyle Ellis didn't score as well Tuesday as he did Monday at the United States Amateur, but he still advanced into the match play portion of the prestigious event.

The Senatobia native shot a 2-under-par 68 Monday on the Ocean Course at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. On Tuesday on the more difficult and more famous Lakeside Course, the Ole Miss senior shot a 5-over-par 75.

But he made it into match play, which begins for him this afternoon, easily with a 3-over-par score of 143 for the two days. He was in a three-way tie for 23rd place as the top 64 and ties moved on. A total of 77 players out of the field of more than 300 advanced.

Ellis played the back nine first and the front nine last on Tuesday. He started slow but finished fast and left the course headed into match play feeling good about things.

"I struggled early. It's a tough golf course," he said of the Lakeside Course, the site of several U.S. Amateurs and U.S. Opens through the years. "I played the last few holes solid, so I was glad to finish strong."

Ellis, who redshirted last school year as the Rebels made the NCAA Tournament field for the first time in six years, was one-under par on the last five holes of his round, which on the course were actually holes five through nine. It was a stretch of solid play that made sure he was in today's start of match play.

"I birdied the seventh hole (which was his 16th hole to play) and parred in," he said. "That was a good way to finish it up.

"I hit my first shot of the day (on hole 10) into the rough. I hacked it out and three-putted, so I was behind the eight ball from the start. I played 11, 12 and 13 (his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th holes) smart and parred all three. That got me back on track.

"But then I bogeyed 14 (his fifth hole) from the middle of the fairway. I hit a wedge over the green. I made another bogey on 17 (his eighth), which is probably the toughest hole on the course. And I bogeyed 18 (his ninth)."

That was a 4-over par 39 on his first nine holes, but he came home with a 1-over par 36 on his last nine. Now he heads to match play, a format he says he hasn't had a lot of experience playing in his successful career thus far.

"It's still golf, and you only play one player at a time," Ellis said. "I've only got to beat him one down. So I'll go play and see what happens."

The Senatobia native became the second consecutive Ole Miss Rebel to advance to match play at the U.S. Amateur. Chris Rogers, who completed his golf career with the Rebels this past season, reached match play in 2006.

"We are excited for Kyle to make it to match play," UM head coach Ernest Ross said. "He struggled on his front nine yesterday, but it was great to see him battle back and finish strong. This will definitely help his confidence. Anything can happen in match play."

Here are TV times and channels for the remainder of the U.S. Amateur.

Today - The Golf Channel: 3-5 p.m. CDT

Thursday - The Golf Channel: 5:30-7:30 p.m. CDT

Friday – The Golf Channel: 7:30-9:30 p.m. CDT

Saturday – NBC: 3-5 p.m. CDT

Sunday – NBC: 3-5 p.m. CDT

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