CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. – Guilford College golf alumni Andrew Biggadike ’02 and Jeff Osberg ’06 both suffered losses Wednesday in the first round of match play at the U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club. The setbacks eliminated the pair from the match play portion of the championship, which concludes with a 36-hole final Sunday.
Both Biggadike and Osberg qualified for match play by virtue of top-64 finishes in the 36 holes of stroke play, which took place Monday and Tuesday. Biggadike ended up 25th in the 312-man field, while Osberg shot seven-under-par for the 36 holes and shared second place.
Biggadike fell to 55-year-old Doug Hanzel of Savannah, Ga., 3-and-2. Hanzel went three up after nine holes, before the former three-time Guilford All-American won the next two holes and trimmed his deficit to one up after 11 holes. Biggadike bogeyed the 12th and 14th holes while Hanzel parred them to regain a three-hole edge. Biggadike won the par-three 15th hole, but Hanzel clinched the match and ended Biggadike’s U.S. Amateur debut at the par-four 16th.
“I have no pressure,” said Hanzel, who was the low amateur at last month’s U.S. Senior Open. “The kids have the pressure. Losing to a 55-year-old is pressure.”
Osberg fell, 3-and-2, to Steve Fox, who is competing in his first USGA championship. The 21-year-old Fox was the second-to-last to qualify for the 64-player match-play stage. On the fourth playoff hole – the par-4 13th at Cherry Hills – he got up and down to save par, holing a 10-footer, to claim one of the last three spots among the four players remaining.
Osberg jumped out to a quick two-up lead after Fox opened with three straight bogeys. However, Fox rallied and the match was all square after an Osberg bogey on the par-three sixth hole.
“I should have taken more of an advantage in those early holes,” said Osberg, who was a member of the Guilford 2005 team that won the NCAA Division III national title. “He was able to hang around and then he started making a few putts. He played well, and I didn’t play as well as I had the first two days. I hit a few bad shots that really cost me.”
Fox and Osberg made the turn with Fox leading, 1-up, but a birdie on 11 and an Osberg bogey on the par-three 12th opened a three-up edge for Fox. The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga senior won the 14th to go 4 up and dormie when he got up and down again, this time from behind the green. Fox lost 15 with a sloppy double-bogey 5, but his two-putt par from eight feet sealed it at 16 when Osberg missed a five-foot birdie try.
The loss ended Osberg’s third U.S. Amateur appearance and his first in the match-play stage.
The 2012 U.S. Amateur Championship continues with the second and third rounds of match play Thursday. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played Friday and Saturday, respectively, and the championship concludes with a 36-hole final on Sunday, starting at 8:30 a.m. (MDT).