FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Nicolas Echavarria won his quarterfinal match, but for the second year in a row was ousted in the semifinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur while future teammates Austin Cook
and Kolton Crawford
had good days at Chenal Country Club in the Southern Amateur.
In his first match of the day, Echavarria faced off against Branson Davis of McKinney, Texas, and despite holding a lead for 17 of 18 holes, Arkansas’ recruit was forced to grind out a win. Echavarria took an early and commanding lead when he went up three holes after the third, but Davis came right back with a pair of wins to shave the lead. Echavarria would again build a three-hole lead, this time on the 10th hole, but Davis again responded and made the match all square after No. 17. Echavarria won his second match-play competition of the event on the final hole when he sank a bogey putt, one better than his opponents double bogey.
Qualifying for the semifinals of the Junior Amateur for the second straight year, Echavarria faced Andy Hyeon Bo Shim of Duluth, Ga. This time, Echavarria would be forced to play from behind after his opponent sank a birdie putt on No. 2. The two players would go shot-for-shot over the next six holes before Echavarria tied the match with a birdie putt on No. 9. Shim would respond with back-to-back birdies and hole victories to go up two with seven to play, but Echavarria quickly won the 12th hole to get back to within one. The two competitors would again go stroke-for-stroke over the next four holes before Echavarria’s double bogey on No. 17 gave Shim the hole and match victory, 2&1.
At the Southern Amateur, Crawford had Arkansas’ best day when he shot even par to remain at five-over for the tournament while Cook posted his first above-par score at two over and moved into a tie for 16th overall.
Crawford’s day got off to a tremendous start as he birdied the first hole, No. 10, but a bogey on his second moved him back to even par on the day. A double bogey on No. 15 and bogey at No. 17, placed him at three-over par at the turn, but the Mansfield, Texas, native closed strong. A birdie on No. 1 was followed by an eagle on the par five, seventh, and Crawford erased his above-par score and closed with back-to-back pars for an even 72 on the day. The finish kept Crawford at five-over par for the day, a score that ended up being the cut line, and he shot up the scoreboard into a tie for 47th.
Cook’s round was uncharacteristically up-and-down as big numbers on two par fives spoiled what could have been a much better day. An opening hole double bogey was curbed by a birdie on No. 2 and Cook was back to even par after a birdie on No. 5. A second double bogey, this time on the par five, seventh, was countered by another birdie and Cook made the turn at one-over par. A third double bogey was again followed by a birdie and the Jonesboro, Ark., native closed the round with seven pars to finish at 74, two-over.
Cook and Crawford will conclude competition at the 106th Southern Amateur at Chenal Country Club in Little Rock, Ark., on Saturday morning. Crawford is scheduled to tee off at 8:20 a.m. on No. 10 while Cook has an 8:30 a.m. tee time and will start from the first tee. Seven-under par leads the competition and only 12 players out of the original 150-plus have shot under par for three rounds.