GLENVIEW, Ill. – Senior Ethan Tracy of the University of Arkansas men’s golf team won the prestigious Western Amateur on Saturday with a pair of 1-up victories in match play over Cheng-Tsung Pan and Patrick Cantlay at the North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Ill.
Along the way to the title, Tracy defeated some of the best amateur golfers in the world including Cantlay in the finals who is currently ranked as the No. 1 amateur according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Tracy also defeated the No. 3-ranked player Jordan Spieth, No. 23 Pan and No. 25 Derek Ernst. Tracy entered the competition ranked No. 170.
"This is a great accomplishment for Ethan," Razorback head coach Brad McMakin said. "He defeated some of the best golfers in the world and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Ethan has always been an exceptional golfer, but his game really took off last summer and he has just continued to get better and better."
Tracy’s first match of the day came against Pan and the round was all square through six holes before Tracy sank a birdie on seven to go one up. Tracy remained one up through No. 10, but a bogey one 11 moved the match back to all square. Tracy birdied No. 12 to go up by one, but a birdie by Pan on 14 moved the match back to all square with four holes to play. For the third time in the round, Tracy knocked in a birdie on a par five, this time No. 15, to take a one-hole lead and matched his opponent shot-for-shot through 18 to secure the win.
Cantlay entered the final with a one-up victory over Jeffrey Kang, a victory he achieved on the final hole of the round with a birdie.
In the final, Cantlay took advantage of a bogey by Tracy on No. 1 to go one up, but gave the advantage up on No. 4 as he carded a bogey and Tracy hit par. All square through No. 5, Tracy’s birdie on six put him one-up until No. 8 when Cantlay secured a birdie to even the round. Tracy would get the lead again on No. 10 with a par and Cantlay bogey, but again the match would go all square as Cantlay sank a birdie on No. 12. Tracy took his final lead of the match on No. 13 with a birdie on the par three hole. The two players hit four pars and a birdie over the final five holes giving Tracy the eventual victory.
Previous winners of the Western Amateur include Justin Leonard (1992 & 1993), Hal Sutton (1979 & 1980), Ben Crenshaw (1973), Jack Nicklaus (1961), Phil Mickelson (1991), Scott Verplank (1985) and Tiger Woods (1994)