Langley wins wild second-round match
__UNIVERSITY PLACE, WASH.--You often see some see-saw matches at the U.S. Amateur Championship, but you won't find too many like the second-round tilt between__Scott Langley and Patrick Reed at Chambers Bay GC Thursday morning. From the 10th hole to the match's conclusion, no hole was halved, with Langley, the reigning NCAA champion from Illinois, hanging on to win on the 19th hole, advancing to the afternoon's third-round match with Ryan McCarthy.
"Wow, I didn't know that," said Langley, when told of the back-and-forth play on the back nine. "Those matches are fun. It's a lot more fun for me now that I won. I'm sure Patrick doesn't feel the same way, but that's what match play is about."
Perhaps you knew the match was going to be an unusual one when Reed, a member of the Augusta State national championship squad and one of the pre-tournament favorites, won the opening hole with a double-bogey 6 as Langley had a 30-footer on the green for an 8.
Thankfully, the caliber of play improved greatly, Reed winning the third hole with a birdie to take a 2-up lead, an advantage he would hold as the two players made the turn and finished up the 10th hole.
It was then that the roller-coaster ride began. A wayward second shot by Reed on the 11th led to a bogey, giving Langley the hole. Reed redeemed himself by hitting 3-wood to eight feet on the drivable par-4 12th to win with an eagle and go back to 2 up.
Langley proceeded to win the 13th and 14th holes with a par and birdie to square the match, then took his first lead of the day when he made a two-putt par on the 15th while Reed hit his tee ball into the front bunker and failed to get up and down.
On the 16th hole, with the tee moved up to 297 yards to the flagstick to entice players to try and drive the green, Reed gave it a run, hitting the ball just short and left of the green. Langley, who hit an iron off the tee, put his approach shot into the greenside bunker left, but then watched Reed scull his chip over the green into a bunker on the right side. If he was feeling any relief, it vanished when Reed then holed his bunker shot for a birdie, which won him the hole when Langley's bunker shot went off the green.
All square on the 17th tee with the wind in the players' faces, Reed took an extra club, but his 5-iron approach astonishingly landed 30 yards short in the front bunker. Langley missed the green to the left, but got up and down for par to win the hole and retake a 1-up lead.
On the par-5 18 Reed's drive hit the fairway after Langley's found a bunker right. Reed eventually won with a conceded birdie to send the match to extra holes.
Back on the first hole, where Reed, knowing the disaster it had been for both earlier, proceeded to hit the one shot you had to avoid, pushing his drive high in to the fescue right of the fairway. It took almost the whole five minutes to find the ball.
"The only reason I could find it was I nearly stepped on it," Reed said.
Reed whacked the ball out with a lob wedge, watching it trundle to a lower spot in the fescue. He hacked his third shot across to the left rough but his fourth hit the front of the green and rolled down the severe slope left of the green that has unnerved players all week. While eventually getting on the green with his seventh shot, he conceded the match when Langley got out of the green side bunker and on to the green with his third shot.
"I shouldn't have even been in the situation in the first place," Reed said. "I let him back in the match. ... I just couldn't make any putts. I felt I didn't make anything out there. I made the turn at 2 up and I can count four putts inside six feet i missed on the front nine. If I made three of those all of a sudden I'm 5 up."
"It was tough the whole day," said Langley, who also cameback from a 2-down deficit to win in 19 holes against Tim Jackson in the first round. "But that's the way match play is. It doesn't amatter if you shoot 67 or 77, if you beat the other guy, you're moving on. It was a tough day for both of us, and I'm just happy to be on the right side of it again."
And to think he has to go back out and play another match.