University of Virginia sophomore Denny McCarthy had to get up early Wednesday morning just to survive the stroke play portion of the U.S. Amateur. In the afternoon in match play at Cherry Hills Country Club (Colo.), the Rockville resident made a strong bid to upset No. 6 seeded Brandon Hagy, but lost in 19 holes.
McCarthy, a member at Argyle, had a 2 up lead with two holes left, but made bogeys on No. 17 and No. 18 to send the match to extra holes. On Cherry Hills’ famed first hole, a 327-yard par 4 that Arnold Palmer drove in the 1960 U.S. Open, Hagy, a junior at Cal, made a birdie to advance to a round of 32 pairing with Paul Misko.
It was a tough loss for McCarthy, who didn’t trail until the final hole. With a birdie on the second playoff hole in the morning, McCarthy earned a spot in the round of 64, surviving a 14-for-17 shootout. Of the 14 players who qualified on Wednesday morning, seven advanced to the round of 32.
One of those qualifiers, Thomas Pieters of Belgium upset Texas sophomore Jordan Spieth, 1 up. Another upset was pulled off by morning qualifier Edouard Espana of France, who toppled LSU sophomore Curtis Thompson, the brother of LPGA teen sensation Lexi Thompson, 1 up. Another morning survivor, Steven Fox, a senior at UT-Chattanooga, stunned the No. 2 seed, Jeff Osberg, 3 and 2. No. 60 Michael Weaver, a junior at Cal, disposed of No. 5 Zac Blair, a senior at BYU, 2 and 1.
Others who advanced included a pair of University of Alabama stars, medalist Bobby Wyatt, and Jack Nicklaus Award winner Justin Thomas.