By MATT HARNESS
GLENVIEW, Ill. (July 30, 2021) – Instead of celebrating his come-from-behind win in the quarterfinals of the 119th Western Amateur at Glen View Club on Friday afternoon, Pierceson Coody, of Plano, Texas, hopped into a golf cart and headed to the practice range.
Although he advanced to the semifinals for a second consecutive year by beating Luke Potter, of Encinitas, California, in 20 holes, the defending champion and No. 2-ranked amateur in the world wasn’t satisfied.
“I didn’t hit the ball well,” said Coody, a senior at Texas. “I need to find some good thoughts and feels. This is such a long and demanding week, and you have to reset.”
After trailing 2 down through 12 holes Friday, Coody closed out Potter with a par on No. 2, the second playoff hole. To reach extra holes, he converted birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 to even the match. Potter won 16 with a par to go 1 up, and they both birdied 17 to extend the match. Coody ranked his downhill, breaking 25-footer as one of the best putts he’s ever holed.
“You have to have things like that happen to win these types of matches,” he said.
Coody split the fairway with his drive on 18 and made a par. Potter hit his tee ball into the hazard left of the fairway and made a double bogey, sending the twosome to extra holes.
“That match was everything I experienced last year,” Coody said, referring to the 2020 Western Amateur at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana. “I drew on that clutch factor and focus.”
Coody beat Karl Vilips, of Perth, Australia, 2 and 1 in the round of 16 Friday morning. He will face Vanderbilt freshman Gordon Sargent, of Birmingham, Alabama, in a semifinal at 8:12 a.m. Saturday.
Medalist and Stanford sophomore Michael Thorbjornsen, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, will play North Carolina junior Austin Greaser, of Vandalia, Ohio, in the other semifinal at 8 a.m.
Thorbjornsen beat Maxwell Moldovan, of Uniontown, Ohio, on Friday morning and dispatched No. 5-ranked amateur Ricky Castillo, of Yorba Linda, California, 2 up in the afternoon. Thorbjornsen, playing his first Western Amateur, led 3 up after 13 holes. Castillo, a semifinalist the last two years, won 14 and 17 to send the match to the 18th hole.
“I expected nothing less from him,” Thorbjornsen said. “We battled back and forth. Every hole was such a grind.
Greaser won a tight 2 and 1 match against Oklahoma State junior Brian Stark, of Kingsburg, California, making birdie on Nos. 14 and 17 to secure his spot in the semifinal. Sargent jumped on North Carolina freshman David Ford early, winning Nos. 3-5 and never trailing while winning 4 and 2.
First played at Glen View Club in 1899, the Western Amateur is the world’s third oldest amateur championship, behind the British Amateur (1855) and the U.S. Amateur (1895). It regularly attracts the top players from across the country and around the world, with past champions like Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
This year, the match play competition will be streamed live on Golf Channel’s digital platforms, with more than 12 hours of coverage on Friday, July 30, and Saturday, July 31. Powered by WGA proud partners BMW and Peter Millar, the stream will be available on GolfChannel.com and thewesternamateur.com, with replays on the Peacock streaming service and golfpass.com.
Attendance and parking at the Western Amateur are free.
Sweet 16 Results
Friday, July 30, 2021
Michael Thorbjornsen, Wellesley, Massachusetts, def. Maxwell Moldovan, Uniontown, Ohio, 2 and 1
Ricky Castillo, Yorba Linda, California, def. Joe Highsmith, Lakewood, Washington, 1 up
Austin Greaser, Vandalia, Ohio, def. Trent Phillips, Inman, South Carolina, 20 holes
Brian Stark, Kingsburg, California, def. Johnny Travale, Ontario, Canada, 2 and 1
David Ford, Peachtree Corners, Georgia, def. Johnny Keefer, San Antonio, Texas, 1 up
Gordon Sargent, Birmingham, Alabama, def. Leo Oyo, San Diego, California, 1 up
Pierceson Coody, Plano, Texas, def. Karl Vilips, Perth, Australia, 2 and 1
Luke Potter, Encinitas, California, def. James Piot, Canton, Michigan, 1 up