Pakistan No. 1 Omar Khalid’s campaign in the 74th US Junior Amateur Golf Championship ended on Thursday when he fell to USA’s Caden Pinckes in the matchplay stage at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, USA.
Omar, who made history by becoming the first golfer from Pakistan to make the cut for a USGA championship on Wednesday, struggled with his putter on lightning-fast Bandon Dunes greens. Pinckes won 4 and 3 after the 15th hole to enter the Round of 32. “It just wasn’t my day,” said Omar, who was two down after the first four holes. “The greens were extra fast and the tees were placed right at the back. And my putts weren’t going in,” he added.
Omar bounced back by making back-to-back birdies on holes 6 and 7 to level the scores. But Pinckes birdied hole 10 to take the lead again before winning the match on the 15th. “I was unable to give my best today,” Omar said. “But it was my first ever tournament in the US, so I’m happy that I made the cut,” he added. The US Amateur is regarded as the toughest and most prestigious junior contest in international golf. It features 264 of the best players from around the world. Past winners include Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, and current world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler.
Meanwhile, USA’s Caleb Surratt continued his torrid play in the Round of 64. He hardly broke a sweat in producing the largest margin of victory on Day 1 of match play on the 7,078-yard Bandon Dunes layout, an 8-and-7 triumph over Ismael Encinas of Mexico. It was also the largest Round-of-64 win in the championship since 2001 when Jessie Mudd defeated Robby Walizer at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Texas.
Defending champion Nicholas Dunlap of the USA overcame an early 2-down deficit to defeat Collin Hodgkinson, the only player from the host state to qualify for match play, 2 and 1. USA’s Jack Cantlay, the younger brother of reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year Patrick Cantlay, defeated fellow Southern Californian Connor Williams 4 and 3. Down one hole at the turn, the incoming Long Beach State freshman won five of the next six holes, a stretch that included three birdies.