Story by Evan Roberts, Texas A&M Athletics Communications
PARAMUS, New Jersey – Texas A&M men’s golfer Sam Bennett advanced to the semifinals of the 122nd U.S. Amateur after defeating Stewart Hagestad, 3&2, Friday at The Ridgewood Country Club.
The Madisonville, Texas, native fell behind early after dropping hole four, but rallied to tie the match with a birdie on the par-3 No. 6 and took the lead on hole eight. On the back nine, Bennett carded a par on No. 11 to move to 2UP before a birdie on No. 14 to take a three-hole advantage. Bennett clinched the match as the duo tied hole 16.
“I’m excited. Job is not near done yet,” Bennett said. “I knocked one off the board this morning, but we’ve got two more to go. Me and Coach (Brian Kortan) got to do a little work on the range. Swing wasn’t quite there today. But I was able to put enough balls in the fairway and leave myself in good positions. The putter has continued to stay hot. I’m feeling confident on the greens. I’m liking where I’m at.”
Bennett, who has head coach Brian Kortan as his caddie, has faced a formidable draw on his way to the semis as the No. 3 ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings defeated No. 13 Nick Gabrelcik in 19 holes in the round of 64, No. 27 Fred Biondi, 6&5, in the round of 32 and No. 10 David Puig, 4&2, in the round of 16 before topping No. 9 Hagestad.
“They’re great players, but I’m a better player,” Bennett stated. “No. 3 in the rankings, and I feel like I’m the best player — I’m the dog in this race. I’ve been playing the best golf leading up to here. Yesterday I think I was 10-under through 29. Today I didn’t quite have it, but I got the job done. I got (Dylan) Menante tomorrow. Obviously, he’s playing good, another tough opponent. I think it’s going to be a good match.”
He returns to the course Saturday at 1 p.m. CT and will face No. 8 Dylan Menante. Coverage of the semifinals can be seen on the GOLF Channel.
For more information on the U.S. Amateur and for the television schedule, visit www.USGA.org.
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