U.S. Amateur Golf Championship : O'Connell Is Medalist by One Stroke

Associated Press

Irishman Eoghan O'Connell shot a one-under-par 69 Wednesday to lead a field of 64 qualifiers into four days of match play for the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship.

The 21-year-old senior at Wake Forest won medal honors for the 36-hole qualifying with a 68-69--137, four under par, edging Phil Mickelson, the 1989 National Collegiate Athletic Assn. champion from Arizona State and San Diego, who shot 70-68--138.

Three were tied at 142: John (Tripp) Isenhour (69-73), a Georgia Tech junior; Jim Pemberton (73-69), a sophomore at USC, and Chris Patton (71-71), a junior from Clemson.

Doug Martin of Van Buren, Ohio; John Grace, owner of a real estate company in Ft. Worth, and Duke Delcher, a former Philadelphia champion, were next at 143.

The 64 survivors from a field of 312 start match play today with 18 holes at historic Merion Golf Club and continue with 36 holes Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The cut came at 149 and a playoff was held to whittle the field to 64.

"It's a lot of prestige," O'Connell said. "There were 312 players here and I beat 'em all. That should keep me happy for a month."

This was O'Connell's first look of the 6,523-yard Merion course.

"The back nine is superb," he said. "Sixteen, 17 and 18 are as good a finish as you'll get. It's not a very long course, but it has character."

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