Co-Medalists Split and Liaw Eases to Win in First Round of Match Play

Duluth, Ga. – The co-medalists went in separate directions and the defending champion won in the first round of match play at the 2002 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club’s 7,008-yard, par-70 Highlands Course.

Tarik Can, 17, of Douglaston, N.Y., a co-medalist who never before faced an opponent in competitive match play, defeated Matt Edwards of Henderson, Nev., 5 and 4. Meanwhile, Jarred Texter, 16, of Lancaster, Pa., the other co-medalist, dropped a tough decision to Shane Sigsbee, 17, of McKinney, Texas, 2 up. The Texter-Sigsbee matchup was between two players each in his third U.S. Junior Amateur.

Defending champion Henry Liaw, 16, Rowland Heights, Calif. eased his way into the second round with an 8-and-6 win over Tom Guillebeau, 16, of Hockessin, Del.

Can held a 5-up lead through six holes, had it dwindle to 3-up after No.12, and then took the next two holes with a birdie on No.13 and a par on No.14 for the victory.

“I tried to keep it in the fairway and keep it on the greens because this is the first time I’ve ever played match play,” Can said. “My caddie really helped me out. He told me how it’s a putting match and the matches get tougher as they go along.”

“That’s two years in a row,” Texter said of the medalist suffering a first-round defeat. “Shane outplayed me. He played a lot of golf today with the playoff holes but he just outplayed me. He hit good shots when he needed to.”

Sigsbee “caught a big break” when his tee shot on the par-3 17th bounced off a greenside slope and rolled to within 2 feet of the hole. Conversely, Texter’s tee shot hit in about the same spot on the hillside but stayed in the rough. Texter’s chip-in attempt did not go in and he conceded the short putt to Sigsbee. The tall Texan then won the 18th and the match.

Sigsbee played the 18th holes six times during the course of the day – once as the 9th hole of his second round of stroke play, four times in the playoff for match play and once in the Texter match. He was 2-over-par for those aggregate holes saying: “I’ll take that anytime on that hole!”

Playing against an opponent who finished his second round earlier in the day and advanced into match play through the playoff, Liaw built a 4-up lead through six holes and then won four of the next five holes to record the win.

“I played consistently,” Liaw said. “I was hitting my irons well but I couldn’t putt, though. I came in confident already. I had a hard time at the Publinx. I was up three with four to play and I lost (to John Finnin, 1 down in the second round on July 18). I had to overcome that. “

Liaw abandoned his usual ‘long pants only’ style and wore shorts in the steamy afternoon heat.

“Oh, yeah,” he said with a grin. “Everybody was talking about that. Last year, I went with all pants so I wanted to try something new to get some tan. It was overcast the whole time so I didn’t get much. I was running out of pants. The course is wet and I didn’t want to get my pants dirty.”

The start of the first round of match play, originally scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, was delayed until 1 p.m because weather suspended Wednesday play. Half the field (78 players) was forced to complete its second round of stroke play on Thursday. It was completed when a 14-for-8 playoff ended at 2:45 p.m.

Georgians Roberto Castro, 16, of Alpharetta, Chris Kirk, 17, of Woodstock, and Brian Harmon, 15, of Savannah each advanced to the second round.

Darkness halted play at 8:50 p.m. with two matches still on the course. The second and third rounds of match play are scheduled for Friday with the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds set for Saturday. The final is now slated for Sunday morning. All matches are scheduled for 18 holes.

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 Thursday’s first round of match play at the 2002 U.S. Junior Amateur at the 7,008-yard, par-70 Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course:

Jake Grodzinsky, Cornville, Ariz. (148) def. Will Mast, Scottsdale, Ariz. (148), 3 and 1
Nick Hughey, Gaffney, S.C. (149) def. Randy Lowry, Spring, Texas (145), 1 up
Brian Harman, Savannah, Ga. (145) def. Craig Revell, Canada (149), 4 and 3
Sam Korbe, Springdale, Ark. (149) def. Brett Myers, Broken Arrow, Okla. (147), 1 up
Charlie Beljan, Mesa, Ariz. (150) def. A J Shiffert, Visalia, Calif. (143), 1 up
Seath Lauer, Huntington, Ind. (146) def. Kevin Dore, Canada (149), 5 and 3
Michael Randle, Austin, Texas (148) def. Joseph Sykora, Daphne, Ala (148), 2 and 1
Daniel Im, La Mirada, Calif. (144) def. Benjamin Alvarado, Chile (150), 5 and 4
Philip Chauncey, Durham, N.C. (149) def. Rob Grube, Hinsdale, Ill. (146), 2 and 1
Alex Prugh, Spokane, Wash. (147) def. Adam Porzak, Poway, Calif. (148), 6 and 5
Elliott Wainwright, Hillsborough, Calif. (143) def. Reed Darsie, Chapel Hill, N.C. (150), 3 and 2
Dan Kleckner, Spring, Texas (146) def. Kevin Larsen, Santa Barbara, Calif. (149), 21 holes
Roberto Castro, Alpharetta, Ga. (143) def. Masaki Nakanishi, Japan (151), 1 up
Casey Wittenberg, Memphis, Tenn. (141) def. David Merkow, Hartland, Wis. (151), 4 and 3
Henry Liaw, Rowland Heights, Calif. (142) def. Tom Guillebeau, Hockessin, Del. (151), 8 and 6
Shane Sigsbee, McKinney, Texas (151) def. Jarred Texter, Lancaster, Pa. (139), 2 up
Tarik Can, Douglaston, N.Y. (139) def. Matt Edwards, Henderson, Nev. (151), 5 and 4
Joshua Wooding, Riverside, Calif. (148) def. Greg Carlin, Kensington, Md. (148), 1 up
Robert Riesen, Pinehurst, N.C. (145) def. Jarrod Page, Newton Falls, Ohio (149), 2 up
Casey Clendenon, Houston, Texas (149) def. John Streibich, St Thomas, Virgin Islands, 1 up
Chris Kirk, Woodstock, Ga. (143) def. Scotty Campbell, Conway, Ark. (151), 6 and 4
Chad Moscovic, Stockton, Calif. (149) def. Derek Tolan, Highlands Ranch, Colo. (147), 2 and 1
Chris Wilson, Dublin, Ohio (143) dec. Tyler Rucarean, Gainesville, Fla. (150), 2 and 1
Chanin Puntawong, Bradenton, Fla. (146) def. Timothy Moynihan, Murrysville, Pa. (149), 2 and 1
Chris Wells, Mobile, Ala. (151) def. Chris Gilliland, Chattanooga, Tenn. (140), 5 and 3
Joe Panzeri, Boise, Idaho (148) def. Jonathan Green, Sisters, Ore. (148), 2 up
Beau Glover, Sherwood, Ark. (144) def. Matt Schall, Jersey Shore, Pa. (150), 4 and 3
Cole Isban, South Bend, Ind. (149) def. Jerry Richardson, Burlington, N.C. (145), 4 and 2
Zac Reynolds, Edmond, Okla. (142) def. Jonathan Taruc, Las Vegas, Nev. (151), 4 and 3
Blaine Peffley, Lebanon, Pa. (147) vs. Will Dottley, Greenville, Miss. (149)
Matt Harmon, Grand Rapids, Mich. (143) def. Michael Baird, Castle Rock, Colo. (150), 6 and 5
Tom Glissmeyer, Colorado Springs, Colo. (146) def. Tyler Miskell, Heath, Ohio (149), 2 and 1