Aug. 27, 2009
Clemson, SC – Ben Martin and Phillip Mollica both won second-round matches at the US Amateur at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, OK on Thursday morning to advance to the final 16 of the event. Martin defeated Chris Ward of Texas Tech in 19 holes, while Mollica defeated Cameron Wilson, a 16-year-old amateur from Connecticut, 1-up.
This is the first time Clemson has had two golfers in the Final 16 of the same US Amateur. It marks the first time since 2003 (Gregg Jones) than a Clemson golfer has reached the final 16. Martin and Mollica are the 10th and 11th golfers in Clemson history to reach the final 16 of the US Amateur. Only one Clemson golfer has won the event, Chris Patton in 1989 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, PA.
Martin will now face Nick Geyer of the University of New Mexico and Mollica will face Mark Anderson of Beaufort, SC. The Mollica vs. Anderson match will be a Clemson vs. South Carolina battle. Mollica just finished his senior year at Clemson and Anderson just finished his senior year at South Carolina.
Martin won his second consecutive match in extra holes, a first for a Clemson golfer at the United States Amateur.
Martin, who has his father Jim serving as his caddie this week, defeated Tyson Alexander of the University of Florida in 21 holes on Wednesday in the first round. He had a three-up lead with three holes to play in that match before winning on the third extra hole. Then, on Thursday morning, Martin had a two-up lead with two to play, but lost the last two holes to send the match to extra holes. He then defeated Ward on the first extra hole with a two-putt par. Ward had beaten Brian Harman of the University of Georgia and the Walker Cup team in the first round.
Mollica, who is playing in his third US Amateur, had a close match with Wilson. Over the 18 holes, no one had a lead of more than one hole at any time. Mollica went one up when he won the par four 15th hole with a par. But, Wilson tied the match with a birdie on the 17th hole when he got up and down for birdie out of a greenside bunker.
Both golfers hit good drives to the middle of the fairway on 18, but Wilson’s second shot missed the green by 20 yards to the left. Mollica hit his second shot from 171 yards onto the green, but left his approach putt 10 feet short. Wilson putted out for a five, and Mollica won the match when he made the 10-foot putt for par.
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