Virginia junior golfer Derek Bard (New Hartford, N.Y.) put together a furious back-nine rally to advance to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur Championships at Olympia Fields Country Club. Bard defeated Arizona State senior Jon Rahm, the world’s top-ranked amateur player, 1-up in their quarterfinal match.
Rahm, the 2015 Ben Hogan Award winner as the nation’s top collegiate/amateur player, got out to an early lead, winning the first and sixth holes to go 2-up. Bard won his first hole on par-4, 442-yard eighth hole thanks to an eagle but then Rahm took the ninth and 10th holes to extend his lead to 3-up. That’s when Bard got hot.
Bard used birdies on the 11th and 12th holes to cut Rahm’s lead to 1-up. After neither player could pick up a win on holes 13 through 15, Bard squared the match with a par on No. 16. He took his first lead in the match on the par-3, 256-yard 17th hole with a bogey after Rahm posted double bogey. Both players made par on the 18th hole to give Bard the victory.
The win was the fourth straight come-from-behind win for Bard during the tournament who is playing in the championship for the fourth time in his career.
Bard will face Kenta Konishi of Japan in Saturday’s semifinal that is set to tee off at 8 a.m. ET.
Bard defeated Davis Riley, of Hattiesburg, Miss., 4 and 3 on Wednesday in the round of 64. He went on to defeat University of Georgia senior Sepp Straka, 6 and 5 in the round of 32 then advanced to his first U.S. Am quarterfinal by defeating 2015 Walker Cup Team member Hunter Stewart, 2 and 1.
In the other semifinal match, USC freshman Sean Crocker will face SMU junior Bryson DeChambeau, the 2015 NCAA individual champion.
This year’s tournament marks the second straight year a Cavalier golfer has reached the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur Championship. Recent graduate Denny McCarthy (Rockville, Md.) made it to the semifinals last year and advanced to the round of 32 in this year’s event.
Fox will televise the semifinals of the tournament from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.