Rising Lee University senior Matt Emery will be among the 64 golfers entering match play Wednesday of the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship being staged at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Emery, pitted against 312 of the world's best amateurs, turned in his second straight round of 71 on the par 70 layout and his 142 total was good enough for a tie for 27th. Neil Raymond of England and Brady Watts of Australia posted the best scores for 36 holes (134).
In a USGA amateur championship, there are two days of stroke play qualifying to determine the 64 players who will make it to match play.
The "Match Play Tree" is then established -- much like a tennis tournament or NCAA basketball - and players are seeded according to how they played during stroke play.
Emery will face Carr Vernon of Popular Bluff, Mo. in the opening round of match play. Like Emery, Carr finished the qualifying at 2-over, 142.
"Just making the U.S. Amateur was my first goal," stated the excited Emery. Now he has reached his second goal of reaching the match play competition. "I'm thrilled to be here and I know I can play with anyone when I am on my game.
"Wednesday's game plan is the same," he said. "Go hit into the fairways and make a lot of pars. The course is hard enough that par is a good score."
Lee golf coach John Maupin traveled to Brookline to watch his star pupil perform.
"I just can't say enough about how proud I am of Matt, qualifying for match play at the U.S. Amateur is truly an amazing accomplishment," the coach said. "It's not often you get these kind of opportunities, much less take advantage of them, but Matt has done that this week by proving himself against the best amateurs in the world. It's a testament to Matt's talent, hard work, and determination."
Maupin went on to praise the event, saying, "This is such a special event, and it's incredibly well run by the USGA. What has impressed me the most is that Matt never backed down from the moment.
" It would have been very easy to show up here and play with an attitude of "I'm just happy I made it this far", but from the moment Matt got here he has played with a purpose. He never doubted that he could make it to match play, and that kind of fearlessness is impressive. He told me on the way up here that he planned on being here longer than a couple of days, and I guess he wasn't kidding."
"I think he would agree that the course he played today was probably the toughest course set up he's seen," said Maupin. "There was no room for error, and you had to be 100 percent focused. Matt put on a clinic today from tee to green, I'm glad I got to be here for it because this is as good a round as I've seen from one of our players. I know Matt is excited about match play, and we'll all be rooting him on. The great thing about match play is anything can happen, and the way Matt has played I know he can compete with anyone in the field."