WEB: Southern Pines Sophomore Ousted From U.S. Amateur Championship
Michael McGowan was eliminated 2 and 1 in the first round of match play Wednesday at the 106th U.S. Amateur Championship.
McGowan lost to Jim Renner, a senior at Johnson & Wales and the 2001 Massachussettes Amateur runner-up.
Earlier in the match, McGowan had led by four.
"It's disappointing," he said after the round.
A bogey at the 7th jumpstarted Renner's comeback. McGowan bogeyed five more, including the 17th to end the match.
He finished tied for 37th with a 145 (3-over) after two days of stroke play qualifying. The 15-year-old was the youngest player to advance to match play.
The top 64 in the field of 312 moved onto match play at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. University of Florida golfer Billy Horschel is the medalist with a 5-under, 137.
McGowan followed up his first-round 1-over (72) with a 73 on Tuesday.
"I'm still thinking about those last two holes," he said. McGowan bogeyed the last two holes of the day.
"It was a bad end to the round."
McGowan said he is putting OK but wants to work on his driving. He went to the range after Tuesday's round.
McGowan said he has been playing in a lot of practice rounds and relaxing at Hazeltine. He arrived Friday.
"I'm going to do the best I can. If I lose I won't be too disappointed if I make it into the match play," he said. "I'd love to make it to Friday and get some more air time."
He called the tournament first class.
The rising sophomore at The O'Neal School qualified for the premier amateur tournament by firing consecutive 68s in two rounds of qualifying at Myers Park Country Club in Charlotte in July.
The son of Champions Tour player Pat McGowan and Bonnie McGowan, McGowan finished second only to Webb Simpson at the qualifier. Simpson is the country's top-ranked amateur, according to Golfweek magazine.
Simpson won his match 2-up Wednesday.
McGowan, it would seem, has big shoes to fill given his family's golf success.
In addition to his father, who played at the recently completed British Senior Open, his mother is the daughter of Peggy Kirk Bell. His uncle, Kelly Miller of Southern Pines, is a first alternate out of sectional qualifying for the U.S. Am and the president of Pine Needles and Mid Pines.
Both his parents are with him at Hazeltine in addition to his godfather, who came from California, and cousins.
His father is his caddy.
"I have a little expectation on me," he said.
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