UVA golfer Denny McCarthy advances to US Amateur semis

uva-logo-new2UVA men’s golfer Denny McCarthy (Rockville, Md.) won his quarterfinal match at the 114th U.S. Amateur Championships to advance to Saturday’s semifinal round of play. Friday he defeated University of Houston golfer Roman Robledo 3&2 at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

McCarthy led almost the entire match. He won the first hole with a par but then watched the match go back to all-square whenRobledo made birdie on the second hole. McCarthy won the next three holes to lead 3-up after five holes. Several times McCarthy’s advantage dropped to a single hole, but he picked up wins on 14 and 16 to punch his ticket into the semifinal round.

“The first four holes here are really holes you need to get by,” McCarthy said. “In the stroke play when I played in my round, I thought if I could get by the first four holes at even par, I would be gaining a couple shots on the field. I have kind of the same mentality for match play. I believe I played them even par today, which you’re going to be up in mostmatches you play. Those are just really tough holes.”

McCarthy feels he has room to play even better heading into the weekend’s competition.

“I hit the ball well, but I didn’t drive it as well as I have been,” McCarthy said. “I leaked a couple right. Lost one left. But I really haven’t made any putts. I’ve made a lot of pars. I’ve given myself a lot of looks on the greens in good spots. I just haven’t really made the putts. Some of the matches, I haven’t really had to; just kind of lag them and two-putt them. But I think if I make a couple putts tomorrow, I’ll be in good shape.”

This is the sixth year McCarthy has competed in the U.S. Amateur Championship, but it is the first time he has advanced past the round of 64 in match play. The tournament began with 312 competitors taking part in 36 holes of stroke play. McCarthy finished stroke play tied for 20th at 2-under 141.

“I don’t think I really had any expectations,” McCarthy said about his sixth appearance at the USGA event. “It was nice to get the monkey off my back just getting past the first round. And then from there, I guess it’s just seeing how far you can go. Just keep grinding and keep focusing on my next opponent.”

A rising senior at Virginia, McCarthy earned second-team All-America honors in 2014 thanks to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships and a runner-up showing at the ACC Championships. He placed in the top-10 in nine of 12 collegiate tournaments last season.

McCarthy will face Corey Conners (Listowel, Ontario) in the semifinals. Conners finished his senior season at Kent State last spring. Their match is slated to begin at 8:20 a.m. The 36-hole final will take place Sunday.



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