Defending Champion Liaw Ousted, Co-Medalist Can Wins in Third Round

Duluth, Ga. – Defending champion Henry Liaw of Rowland Heights, Calif. lost but co-medalist Tarik Can of Douglaston, N.Y. continued his winning ways in the third round of match play at the 2002 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Liaw, 16, who was bidding to join Tiger Woods as the only player to successfully defend his Junior Amateur title, was defeated by left-handed Elliott Wainwright, 17, of Hillsborough, Calif., 1 up.

“I knew he was a player that if I played 10 times, I’d lose a majority of the times,” Wainwright said of their closely-contested match. “But you only play once. In this match, the biggest part was believing I could win.”

Liaw held a 2-up edge after a birdie on the par-5 12th. Wainwright, however, birdied the 13th and 14th to square the match. He took a 1-up lead when he won the 16th with a par when Liaw couldn’t convert a par save. Both players parred the 17th and 18th for Wainwright’s win.

“The way he’s playing he’s going to be hard to beat,” Liaw said of Wainwright.

“Everyone wants to win, I want to, too,” Wainwright said. “It’s great to get to the quarterfinals but I’d like to see if I can go farther.”

In the quarterfinals, Wainwright faces Casey Wittenberg, 17, of Memphis, Tenn., who outlasted Daniel Im, 17, of La Mirada, Calif., in 26 holes, the second-longest match in Junior Amateur history.

Wittenberg has advanced to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.

Co-medalist Tarik Can, 17, of Douglaston, N.Y., who had no previous competitive match play experience, finished off Robert Riesen, 15, of Pinehurst, N.C., 5 and 4. His lead even stretched to 6-up after 10 holes.

“I’m happy,” said Can, who had the other co-medalist Jarred Texter of Lancaster, Pa., caddy for him in the afternoon. “I’m glad I made it this far. If I lose my next match it’s no big deal. I’m playing my friend.”

In the next round, he meets 2001 U.S. Junior Amateur semifinalist Chanin Puntawong, 16, of Bradenton, Fla., who advanced with a 6-and-5 win over Chad Moscovic, 17, of Stockton, Calif. Puntawong and Can are classmates at the Leadbetter Golf Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

One Georgian remained alive as left-handed Brian Harman, 15, of Savannah, Ga. defeated Jake Grodzinsky, 17, of Cornville, Ariz., 6 and 4. Harman is the youngest remaining participant. Roberto Castro, 16, of Alpharetta, Ga., who had advanced to the final 16 for the second straight year, was knocked out by Charlie Beljan, 17, of Mesa, Ariz., 6 and 5.

The other quarterfinalists are Joe Panzeri, 15, of, Boise, Idaho and Zac Reynolds, 17, of Edmond, Okla.

Play was suspended at 1:08 p.m. because of lightning and rain with just one match to complete in the second round and no matches started in the third round. After 90 minutes, play resumed at 2:38 p.m. for the third round.

The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds are set for Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. 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 Friday’s second and third 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:

Second Round
Jake Grodzinsky, Cornville, Ariz. (148) def. Shane Sigsbee, McKinney, Texas (151), 5 and 3
Brian Harman, Savannah, Ga. (145) def. Nick Hughey, Gaffney, S.C. (149), 2 up
Roberto Castro, Alpharetta, Ga. (143) def. Sam Korbe, Springdale, Ark. (149), 2 up
Charlie Beljan, Mesa, Ariz. (150) def. Seath Lauer, Huntington, Ind. (146), 1 up
Casey Wittenberg, Memphis, Tenn. (141) def. Michael Randle, Austin, Texas (148), 6 and 5
Daniel Im, La Mirada, Calif. (144) def. Philip Chauncey, Durham, N.C. (149), 3 and 1
Henry Liaw, Rowland Heights, Calif. (142) def. Alex Prugh, Spokane, Wash. (147), 2 up
Elliott Wainwright, Hillsborough, Calif. (143) def. Dan Kleckner, Spring, Texas (146), 3 and 1
Tarik Can, Douglaston, N.Y. (139) def. Joshua Wooding, Riverside, Calif. (148), 2 and 1
Robert Riesen, Pinehurst, N.C. (145) def. Casey Clendenon, Houston, Texas (149), 1 up
Chad Moscovic, Stockton, Calif. (149) def. Chris Kirk, Woodstock, Ga. (143), 1 up
Chanin Puntawong, Bradenton, Fla. (146) def. Chris Wilson, Dublin, Ohio (143), 3 and 1
Joe Panzeri, Boise, Idaho (148) def. Chris Wells, Mobile, Ala. (151), 4 and 3
Beau Glover, Sherwood, Ark. (144) def. Cole Isban, South Bend, Ind. (149), 3 and 2
Zac Reynolds, Edmond, Okla. (142) def. Blaine Peffley, Lebanon, Pa., (147), 2 and 1
Matt Harmon, Grand Rapids, Mich. (143) def. Tom Glissmeyer, Colorado Springs, Colo. (146), 19 holes

Third Round
Harman def. Grodzinsky, 6 and 4
Beljan def. Castro, 6 and 5
Wittenberg def. Im, 26 holes
Wainwright def. Liaw, 1 up
Can def. Riesen, 5 and 4
Puntawong def. Moscovic, 6 and 5
Panzeri def. Glover, 2 and 1
Reynolds def. Harmon, 1 up