Semifinals Set; Wainwright vs. Beljan and Can vs. Reynolds

Duluth, Ga. – Left-handed Elliott Wainwright, 17, of Hillsborough, Calif., who eliminated the defending champion in the third round, knocked off two-time quarterfinalist Casey Wittenberg of Memphis, Tenn. and advanced to the semifinals of the 2002 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Wainwright meets Charlie Beljan, 17, of Mesa, Ariz. in the first afternoon semifinal at 1 p.m.

Co-medalist Tarik Can, 17, of Douglaston, N.Y., will meet Zac Reynolds, 17, of Edmond, Okla. in the 1:15 p.m. semifinal, after outlasting 2001 Junior Amateur semifinalist Chanin Puntawong, 16, of Bradenton, Fla., in 19 holes.

Wainwright, who Friday defeated 2001 Junior Amateur champion Henry Liaw of Rowland Heights, Calif., used birdies on the 8th, 10th and 16th holes to defeat Wittenberg, 3 and 2. The 6-2, 230-pounder from outside San Francisco totaled five birdies in the match.

“I started thinking that it was possible to win but now I’m a lot closer,” Wainwright said. “You can’t make it to the final before playing in the semifinals. If I putt as well as I did this morning, I have a good chance.”

Wittenberg, 17, who entered match play as the No.4 seed, was also a quarterfinalist in 2001, losing to eventual champion Liaw.

Beljan withstood a 2-down deficit after 15 holes and defeated Brian Harman, 15, of Savannah, Ga., the youngest remaining participant, in 21 holes.

Reynolds won holes 15 and 18, of a closely-contested match, to take a 2-up decision from Joe Panzeri, 15, of Boise, Idaho.

The 18-hole final is slated for 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

The U.S. Junior Amateur, for golfers age 17 and younger, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Duluth, Ga. – Results of Saturday’s quarterfinal round of match play at the 2002 U.S. Junior Amateur played at the 7,008-yard, par-70 Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course:

Charlie Beljan, Mesa, Ariz. (150) def. Brian Harman, Savannah, Ga. (145), 21 holes
Elliott Wainwright, Hillsborough, Calif. (143) def. Casey Wittenberg, Memphis, Tenn. (141), 3 and 2
Tarik Can, Douglaston, N.Y. (139) def. Chanin Puntawong, Bradenton, Fla. (146), 19 holes
Zac Reynolds, Edmond, Okla. (142) def. Joe Panzeri, Boise, Idaho (148), 2 up