World No. 9 Dunlap Ousts No. 1 Sargent in Round of 64

By Ron Driscoll, USGA

| Aug 16, 2023 | Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

World No. 9 Dunlap Ousts No. 1 Sargent in Round of 64

What Happened

Nick Dunlap, the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, continued his hot summer on Wednesday, playing 5-under-par golf to outlast world No. 1 Gordon Sargent, 2 and 1, in the Round of 64 of the 123rd U.S. Amateur Championship at historic Cherry Hills Country Club.

“I think this was a match that a lot of people wanted to see,” said Dunlap, who captured the Northeast Amateur and the North & South Amateur earlier this summer and is No. 9 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking®(WAGR®). “Obviously he's the No. 1 player in the world for a reason. Wasn’t expecting any gifts from him. Just kind of throwing punches all day long and see who could withstand them at the end.”

Dunlap, 19, of Huntsville, Ala., a rising sophomore at the University of Alabama, lost the par-4 first hole to Sargent’s birdie. After the pair halved the next eight holes, Dunlap won Nos. 10 and 11 with birdies and added another birdie on the difficult 511-yard, par-4 14th to take control of the match over Sargent, 20, of Birmingham, Ala., a Vanderbilt junior and the low amateur in the U.S. Open in June at The Los Angeles Country Club.

“He put a lot of pressure on me on the front with some of his 390-yard drives, but I thought if I could get the tee and maybe start applying some pressure of my own that maybe I could flip the momentum in my favor,” said Dunlap, the No. 41 seed, who will take on local favorite Connor Jones, of Denver, in Thursday’s Round of 32 at 8:30 a.m. MDT. Jones, 22, a graduate student at Colorado State and the No. 9 seed, ousted Vicente Marzilio, of Argentina, 4 and 3.

All three stroke-play co-medalists advanced to the Round of 32, including Blades Brown, 16, of Nashville, Tenn., a high school sophomore who turned heads on Tuesday with an 8-under 64 at stroke-play co-host Colorado Golf Club. Brown defeated Benton Weinberg, of Potomac, Md., 1 up, while co-medalists Sampson Zheng and Jackson Buchanan also earned victories in matches that went to the daunting 18th hole.

Zheng, 22, of the People’s Republic of China, a rising senior at the University of California who captured the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball title with college teammate Aaron Du in May, edged 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Preston Summerhays with a par to Summerhays’ bogey on No. 18. Buchanan, 21, of Dacula, Ga., a rising junior at the University of Illinois, held off Karl Vilips, of Australia, 2 up.

Maxwell Moldovan

After a back-and-forth match that saw him trailing by as much as 3 down, Cooper Jones (left) prevailed over Maxwell Moldovan in 23 holes. (USGA/Chris Keane)

Identical twins David and Maxwell Ford, of Peachtree Corners, Ga., both advanced easily to the Round of 32, with No. 4 seed Maxwell ousting Brian Stark, of Kingsburg, Calif., 4 and 3, and No. 28 seed David winning five of the first six holes on the way to a 6-and-5 victory over William Walsh, of San Mateo, Calif.

David, who is No. 4 in the WAGR and a member of the USA Team for the upcoming Walker Cup Match at St. Andrews, Scotland, will be joined this fall at the University of North Carolina by Maxwell, No. 53 in the WAGR, after Maxwell played his first two years of college golf at the University of Georgia. Should the duo each win a pair of matches on Thursday, they will square off in Friday’s quarterfinal round.

Maxwell will square off in Thursday’s Round of 32 against Nick Gabrelcik, of Trinity, Fla., No. 10 in the WAGR, who defeated No. 43 Jackson Van Paris, of Pinehurst, N.C., 2 and 1. Gabrelcik, a semifinalist in this championship in 2021 at Oakmont, won four straight holes (Nos. 10-13) to take control of the match.

Speaking of Maxwells, Maxwell Moldovan, of Uniontown, Ohio, lost out to Cooper Jones, of Highland, Utah, in 23 holes, in one of the most dramatic matches of the day. Moldovan, 21, a rising junior at Ohio State and No. 23 in the WAGR, holed testing putts on three consecutive holes, Nos. 18-20, to extend the match. Jones, 19, who is headed to Brigham Young University this fall, finally put Moldovan away with a par on the par-5 fifth hole to earn a Round-of-32 matchup with Buchanan at 9:20 a.m. on Thursday.

Preston Stout, Jose Islas

Jose Islas (right) topped Preston Trout in 22 holes in their Round-of-64 match. (USGA/Kathryn Riley)

What’s Next

Thursday is a two-round day, with the Round of 32 starting at 8 a.m. MDT and the Round of 16 following at 2 p.m. The quarterfinals are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday, with the semifinals at noon Saturday and the 36-hole final starting at 7 a.m. Sunday.


One of the four mid-amateur players (age 25 and older) who made match play moved on the Round of 32. Grant Smith, 28, of West Des Moines, Iowa, birdied the last two holes to overtake No. 5 seed Piercen Hunt of Canada, 1 up. Colin Prater, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colo., a 2018 University of Colorado graduate, lost in 21 holes to Ryggs Johnston. Matthew McClean, 30, of Northern Ireland, the 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, lost to Andi Xu, 1 up, and Benton Weinberg, 25, lost to Blades Brown, 1 up.

Karl Vilips and Connor Jones both marked their 22nd birthdays on Wednesday, but their match-play results were mixed. Vilips lost to No. 2 seed Jackson Buchanan, 2 up, while Jones prevailed over Vicente Marzilio, of Argentina, 4 and 3.

Twelve countries are represented in the match-play bracket, including 50 players from the USA, four from the People’s Republic of China, and one each from Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland and Sweden. The average age of the 64 who made match play is 20.67.

Brock Healy, of Norcross, Ga., who missed the cut for match play with rounds of 77-72, made a hole-in-one in Round 2 of stroke play on Tuesday. Healy aced the 222-yard 11th hole at Colorado Golf Club with a 7-iron for the 24th known ace in U.S. Amateur history and the first since 2018.

Fourteen of the 32 matches in the Round of 64 went to the 18th hole or beyond, with three of them going to extra holes.


“It’s everything that you would imagine. A lot of people on the first tee, entire pond was surrounded on No. 17. This is why I practice is to go head-to-head with somebody like Gordon. It’s an honor, and it’s why I do what I do.” – Nick Dunlap, on the atmosphere in his victory over Gordon Sargent

“I think there’s maybe a mutual respect of game between us two, growing up in the same hometown. I think we’ve always been pushed against each other, and it wasn’t until three or four days ago where it got a little bit closer, and I’m looking forward to teaming up with him in about three, four weeks.” –Dunlap, on fellow Alabaman and upcoming Walker Cup teammate Gordon Sargent

“I was hitting the ball really, really good. I was just trying to get in the mindset of OK, it’s just me and the golf course. I was doing really good. I may have gotten tired. I probably need to go take a nap.” – Blades Brown, 16, of Nashville, Tenn., the No. 1 seed, who prevailed in 18 holes over Benton Weinberg

“If you hit fairways, you’re going to do really well, and if you’re not, you’re going to be in for a long – maybe not long day. You might lose early. The rough is just nasty. Half the time you can’t even advance it more than 50 yards.” – Nick Gabrelcik, on the demands of Cherry Hills

“My sister texted me this morning and said happy birthday, and I was so focused on the tournament, I forgot it was my birthday. I think I won a high school tournament on my birthday one time, but you don’t get the opportunity to play an event like this on your birthday very often, so it’s really cool.” – Connor Jones, who won on his 22nd birthday

“Those were probably my best two shots of the day. I’d say 3 is a little better than the 7 that I made in stroke play.” – Grant Smith, on the birdie he made on the demanding 18th hole to earn a 1-up comeback victory over No. 5 seed Piercen Hunt

Ron Driscoll is the senior manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at rdriscoll@usga.org.