USGA Amateur Championship 2014: Daily Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More

R. Cory Smith@@RCorySmithSenior Writer IAugust 14, 2014

JOHNS CREEK, GA - AUGUST 16:   Gunn Yang watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the semi-final match of the U.S. Amateur Championship on August 16, 2014 at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Butch Dill/Getty Images

Following the major season for the PGA, the future of golf takes center stage at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia. The USGA Amateur Championship kicked off earlier this week, but match play officially started on Wednesday.

Notable faces like Nathan Smith and Beau Hossler were in the running, one of whom was eliminated early on. The emerging stars will look to add their names to the list of past winners, which includes the likes of Tiger Woods, a three-time winner, and Ryan Moore.

One player who came in with plenty of confidence is No. 1 amateur player Ollie Schniederjans. The Georgia Tech golfer boasted about his play and what he expects during match play, per Steve Eubanks of Global Golf Post:

I still have the mentality that I’m supposed to win this tournament. I’m the No. 1 player in the world and I’m playing in my hometown. Who else is supposed to win this tournament besides me, right? I think other people think that too, and that’s something I have to deal with.

The tournament started earlier with stroke play as Lee McCoy and Taylor Moore tied for first at eight-under during the two rounds. Given the talented field, match play is up for grabs by any player.

As the tournament heats up in match play, here's a look at the daily leaderboard and analysis from the riveting action.

Day 5 of Match Play

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Day 5 Results, Final
Gunn YangCorey Conners2-and-1

Gunn Yang defeated Corey Conners in Sunday's final round to win the U.S. Amateur championship by the score of 2-and-1. 

USGA tweeted the result:

Yang wasted no time racing out to an early lead, birdieing the opening two holes to take a two-stroke lead early on. He would hold onto that lead throughout the opening 18 holes, having it dwindle down to one stroke.

His lead didn't last forever, though. Conners continued to stick around and just past the halfway point, he knotted things up on the 19th hole to put the pressure on. Things would stay square until the 24th, when Yang holed a birdie and he took a two-stroke lead one hole later when Conners bogeyed.

Yang took his two-stroke lead into a weather delay, and although Conners reduced his deficit, he couldn't completely overcome it and Yang was named champion after the 35th hole. 

The win was quite the improbable one for Yang, who had much lower aspirations than winning it all when he began play.

“I was just trying to make it to the match-play portion, really,” said Yang, per's Pete Kowalski. “That was the goal, first of all. And then when I made it to the match play, I was like, maybe I can do this. I was just trying to go through by every single match, just trying to play my game and trying to see how it goes, and I got the trophy. So, I'm really excited and really happy about it.”

Jason Sobel of Golf Channel is a fan of much more than Yang's name:

The win could be transformative for Yang's young career. The victory qualifies him for next year's U.S. Open.

It would be a stretch to assume he'll contend in next year's major appearance, but the experience in itself should be valuable for Yang. And after all, he's already surprised on one big stage. Why not another?

Day 4 of Match Play

Day 4 Results, Semifinal
Gunn YangFrederick Wedel19 holes
Corey ConnersDenny McCarthy1-up

Saturday featured two matches between four golfers vying for a coveted spot in the U.S. Amateur finals. These semifinal contests proved to be just as action packed and dramatic as we had hoped—each came down to the bitter end.

Ryan Lavner of the Golf Channel tweeted the world rankings for each of the remaining amateurs:

Unfortunately for the Americans, the results saw the departure of the final two golfers from the United States in its own amateur tournament. They put up some fine efforts on Saturday, but the competition was fierce.

Gunn Yang continued his improbable run by defeating Frederick Wedel in 19 holes on Day 4.

Yang birdied two of his first four holes on the day to quickly jump out to a two-hole advantage. However, that wouldn't hold for long, as Yang quickly found two water hazards over the next several holes, leading to a loss of the lead.

Here's a look at Yang hitting his drop after finding the hazard, via Golf Week's Instagram account:

On the back side, Yang drew even with Wedel through the 15th hole, and the match remained that way through the 18th. Forced into extra holes, Yang didn't take long to finally close out the match, birdieing the first extra hole to earn the win.

Lavner tweeted the impressive and improbable result:

After his performance, Yang exuded some confidence when speaking of his recent play, via USGA:

Canadian Corey Conners got off to a fast start in the day's second match, recording a birdie on the first hole to swiftly gain a one-hole advantage over Denny McCarthy. He would increase his lead further, but a birdie from McCarthy saw the match head to the back nine all square.

Conners really turned it on during the first several holes of the back side, playing solid golf en route to a two-hole lead through the 14th hole. McCarthy fought back, but couldn't make up enough ground against his opponent, eventually taking the close loss.

Here's what Conners had to say following his round on Saturday, via USGA:

While Yang and Conners will compete for the title on Sunday, they have already punched their tickets to two of golf's most prestigious events. Lavner tweeted the details:

Before they participate in those events, they will first face off in what promises to be an exciting 36-hole final. Dave Shedloski of Golf World noted the absence of Americans in the final over the last couple of years:

Regardless, the best two players advanced, and based on the way they're playing right now, we're certainly in for a drama-filled, action-packed conclusion to this year's U.S. Amateur on Sunday.

Day 3 of Match Play

Day 3 Results, Quarterfinal
Frederick WedelNathan Smith4 and 3
Gunn YangCameron Young2-up
Corey ConnersZachary Olsen2 and 1
Denny McCarthyRoman Robledo3 and 2

Day 3 began with a very intriguing matchup, as the red-hot Nathan Smith took on the long-hitting Frederick Wedel. Right out of the gate, Wedel cooled off the surging Smith, winning the very first hole to take a one-hole lead.

Wedel continued to utilize the long ball to increase his lead through the first nine holes. USGA noted his advantage off the tee:

Soon after, Wedel put Smith in a precarious position. Smith suddenly found himself down four holes with just four to play. He would have to win out to force a playoff. After a draw on the following hole, Wedel advanced to the semifinals:

Gunn Yang continued his improbable run in the U.S. Amateur on Friday, earning yet another victory. Why is his run defined as improbable? This tweet from Golf World pretty much sums it up:

Yang continued his streak in a close match against Cameron Young, as the two golfers competed in a roller-coaster round which actually saw Young take a brief lead after the 12th hole:

The lead didn't last long. With Young missing a par putt on No. 14, Yang two-putted for an easy par to get the match back to all square.

Yang took the lead, but he was severely tested by Young late in the match, as he required a bit of luck to close it out:

The writing may have been on the wall for the day's third match, as Canadian Corey Conners took a one-hole lead through nine holes and the USGA noted his prowess on the course's back nine:

That dominance continued on Friday. Conners was very steady while navigating the back nine. His shining moment came in the form of an eagle on the par-five 16th hole to increase his lead to two holes.

With the match dormie, he remained solid through No. 17, taking the win and advancing to the semifinals.

The final match of the day featured a surging Denny McCarthy. Roman Robledo played some stellar golf earlier in the week, but couldn't quite keep up with McCarthy's big day.

Right out of the gate, McCarthy began to pour it on, leading by three through five holes. He didn't need to do much more than play well enough to match Robledo from there, and that's exactly what happened.

USGA noted McCarthy's impressive performance:

After closing out the match without trailing at any point, McCarthy shared his thoughts during a press conference, via Rob Coleman of

The U.S. Amateur continues to be one of the most befuddling tournaments each year, as the match play format provides a fighting chance for any golfer—no matter his ranking.

Be sure to stay tuned for Saturday's semifinal contests, as the four remaining players bid for a berth in the tournament's coveted final match.

Day 2 of Match Play

Day 2 Results, Round of 32
Nathan SmithBrandon McIver4 and 3
Byron MethTrevor Phillips5 and 4
Jimmy MullenJustin Tereshko23 holes
Frederick WedelDerek Bard2 and 1
Kyle JonesGarrett Rank2 and 1
Cameron YoungIsaiah Logue2-up
Ollie SchniederjansSam Burns20 holes
Gunn YangPaul Howard1-up
Corey ConnersJesse Heinly4 and 3
Jon RahmRico Hoey3 and 2
Will ZalatorisMario Galiano4 and 2
Zachary OlsenBo Andrews4 and 3
Bryson DeChambeauCheng-Tsung Pan2-up
Roman RobledoRobby Shelton1-up
Denny McCarthyJonathan Chang5 and 3
Eli ColeJonathan Garrick1-up

One of the most intriguing matchups on Thursday was between two young players in the field.

No. 1 Schniederjans needed 20 holes to take down Sam Burns, but he eventually pulled out a huge win. Cassie Stein of Golf Week noted the tight victory for Schniederjans following the round:

While Burns won't be advancing to play on Friday, the Shreveport, Louisiana, native put up a great effort against the top amateur player. Burns shared his thoughts on the tournament following his round on Twitter:

Burns might have tested Schniederjans, but it certainly wasn't the longest match of the early round.

Jimmy Mullen of England was looking to be one of the final remaining international players to advance to the third round of play. The 20-year-old, who made the cut at the 2013 British Open, needed a full 23 holes to get past Justin Tereshko.

The USGA account noted the finish of the tight round:

Mullen and Schniederjans may have advanced after two exciting matches, but they will have to play another round on Thursday. With Gunn Yang finishing one-up to move on, the Korean player faced Schniederjans after his exhausting round.

Day 2 Results, Round of 16
Nathan SmithByron Meth21 holes
Frederick WedelJimmy Mullen2 and 1
Cameron YoungKyle Jones1 up
Gunn YangOllie Schniederjans1 up
Corey ConnersJon Rahm3 and 1
Zachary OlsenWill Zalatoris5 and 3
Roman RobledoBryson DeChambeau3 and 1
Denny McCarthyEli Cole1 up

That turnaround proved to be too much for the No. 1 player as he bowed out against Gunn. After a solid start from both players, Gunn was able to pull away late thanks to an onslaught of birdies.

Ryan Lavner of the Golf Channel notes the strong finish from Gunn:

The San Diego State athletics account congratulated the young player from the program:

Along with Gunn, Corey Conners was the only other international player to advance to the round of eight after Thursday's action. Nathan Smith also advanced to the next round after playing 21 holes with Byron Meth.

Just eight players remain in the tournament, so the play will take yet another step up on Friday. As each remaining golfer looks to lock up a spot in the semifinal, youth and experience will collide again ahead of the weekend.

Day 1 of Match Play

Day 1 Results, Round of 64
Upper Bracket
Nathan SmithLee McCoy19 Holes
Brandon McIverDoug Ghim2 and 1
Trevor PhillipsGuillermo Pereira4 and 3
Byron MethEmilio Cuartero6 and 5
Jimmy MullenTodd White1-up
Justin TereshkoXander Schauffele7 and 6
Frederick WedelCarson Jacobs5 and 4
Derek BardZander Lombard3 and 2
Garrett RankJimmy Beck1-up
Kyle JonesLogan McCracken2 and 1
Isaiah LogueSam Horsfield2 and 1
Cameron YoungTyler Torano19 holes
Sam BurnsMatt Nesmith2 and 1
Ollie SchniederjansMatt Teesdale6 and 5
Paul HowardGavin Green4 and 3
Gunn YangSeth Reeves1-up
Lower Bracket
Jesse HeinlyTaylor Moore3 and 2
Corey ConnersScottie Scheffler1-up
John RahmBeau Hossler3 and 2
Rico HoeyTaylor Funk3 and 2
Will ZalatorisJordan Niebrugge2 and 1
Mario GalianoM.J. Maguire2 and 1
Bo AndrewsChris Waters5 and 4
Zachary OlsenAdam Svensson2 and 1
Cheng-Tsung PanZach Healy4 and 2
Bryson DeChambeauVictor Perez2 and 1
Robby SheltonDan Stringfellow2 and 1
Roman RobledoMookie DeMoss1-up
Jonathan GarrickMichael Gellerman3 and 2
Eli ColeWill Betts3 and 2
Jonathan ChangTaylor Pendrith4 and 2
Denny McCarthyJonathan Woo7 and 5

After blistering through the field during stroke play, McCoy was dropped in the opening round of match play.

Smith, an experienced golfer in the field, dismissed the Georgia golfer in 19 holes. The oldest golfer remaining, the 36-year-old Smith has won four USGA Mid-Amateur Championships but was the final player to make the 64-player field.

McCoy spoke about playing the veteran golfer, per Pete Kowalski of

I saw the list and I saw four-time Mid-Am winner and a guy that's played in the Masters four times, and I was like, I get to play the grizzled veteran in the first round, fantastic. I don't think he had his best stuff today and neither did I. I didn't play nearly as well as I did the last two days. He made some incredible up-and-downs and he just scored unbelievably well, like a veteran would.

Outside of the victory by Smith, a young star continued a great summer with a win of his own. Will Zalatoris, who has already won three amateur tournaments this season, took his opening-round match against Jordan Niebrugge.

The 17-year-old has been playing sensational golf and continued that trend against the Walker Cup team member. Zalatoris noted his great play under the circumstances, via Adam Schupak of Golf Week: “I’m the No. 7 seed and I’m playing a Walker Cupper,” Zalatoris said. “But the part that I love is the pressure. I thrive on it.”

The USGA also pointed out the victory for Zalatoris on Wednesday:

In total, 32 players advanced to the second round of match play on Wednesday with multiple notable names on the list. Both Smith and Zalatoris will have a tough road ahead with the likes of No. 1 Schniederjans and other top players in the final bracket.

As Smith yet again proved that he can compete on the big stage, the veteran looks likely to make a late run. But as the weekend approaches, look for the young stars to work their way to the end of the prestigious USGA tournament.

* Full list of live scores and results can be found at