Friday was not a good day for the local players who made it to match play in the 114th Western Amateur at Knollwood Club in Lake Forest.
Northbrook’s Nick Hardy lost in the Round of 16 to Davis Riley, of Hattiesburg, Miss., 4 and 2 and Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, survived his first match in 19 holes but was walloped by Hardy’s University of Illinois teammate Dylan Meyer 5 and 4 in the quarterfinals.
Friday’s matches whittled the field in the prestigious championship to four players. Tourney medalist Sam Horsfield, a University of Florida sophomore from Manchester, England, will face Riley, a sophomore at Alabama, in the first semifinal at 8 a.m. and Meyer will take on Will Gordon, a sophomore at Vanderbilt from Davidson, N.C., at 8:15.
Meyer, from Evansville, Ind., needed to survive a playoff on Thursday to make it into the Sweet 16 for the match play portion of the tournament. He was sorry to see Hardy eliminated.
“We root for each other, and I we really wanted to play each other in the finals,’’ said Meyer, “but we’ll meet up again at the U.S. Amateur.’’
That’ll be the last big summer event before the collegiate stars return to their school teams. The U.S. Amateur will be played at Oakland Hills, in Michigan, starting on Aug. 15. Ghim will be there, too.
“It’s been fun testing my game against such a difficult golf course,’’ said Ghim, soon to be a junior at Texas. “I still consider this a good week, though I didn’t have my best game. I tried to be patient, but I kept burning the edges. It didn’t happen this week, but there’ll be more matches in the future.’’
Hardy started slowly against Riley and never recovered. He missed five putts inside of 10 feet on the front nine. The Meyer-Ghim match was similar, in that Meyer built a 3-up lead in the first eight holes and remained in control the rest of the way.
Horsfield, who was nine shots better than the rest of the field in the 72-hole stroke play portion of the tournament, needs to win both his matches today to become the first medalist to win the overall title since Chris Williams did it at Exmoor, in Highland Park, in 2012.