Go low or go home. That’s a motto often heard at PGA Tour events, but it also applies for the 7th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at the Country Club of Birmingham.
Following 36 holes of stroke play on the club’s East and West courses, a score of 8-under-par 133 was required to qualify for match play, a championship record by two shots. In all, 95 of the 128 sides posted under-par totals for 36 holes.
A trio of sides led the scoring assault to share medalist honors at 13-under-par 128.
Carter Loflin and Wells Williams, the 18-hole leaders who are headed to the University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University, respectively, this fall; Wake Forest alums Davis Womble and Chad Wilfong; and Torey Edwards and Bret Parker each came within two strokes of the 36-hole championship record owned by Brandon Matthews and Patrick Ross in 2016 at Winged Foot Golf Club.
Loflin and Williams followed their 18-hole championship-record 61 on the 6,611-yard, par-71 East Course on Saturday with a 4-under 67 on the 7,166-yard, par-71 West Course on Sunday. Wilfong and Womble made consecutive birdies on 17 and 18 to post an 8-under 63, the best score of the weekend on the West Course. Edwards and Parker closed with two birdies over their final three holes on the East for a 7-under 63.
“It validates everything we’ve been doing,” said Williams, 18, of West Point, Miss., a three-time American Junior Golf Association All-American who was a member of the 2021 USA Junior Ryder Cup Team. “Even though we played insane [on Saturday], there was still a lot out there for us today, which just shows how well we’ve been playing.”
As Womble was walking down the 17th fairway, the 28-year-old from Winston-Salem, N.C., quickly glanced at the online leaderboard to see where his side stood in terms of the cut. He quickly noticed he and Wilfong, 41, of Charlotte, N.C., were only two off the lead.
“More importantly, we were one back of our close friends, Dan Walters and Evan Beck,” said Womble. “We wanted to take them down. I played with Evan one year [at Wake Forest] and Dan was my assistant coach.”
Womble rolled in a 25-footer for birdie on 17 and Wilfong drained a 30-footer on 18 to close with a 5-under 31 on the inward nine.
“You can make some putts,” said Womble, who grew up at the same club in Thomasville, N.C. (Colonial C.C.) as Wilfong, 13 years apart. “The greens are perfect.”
Parker, 42, of Alpine, Utah, birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to pull him and Edwards, a 40-year-old left-hander from Long Beach, Calif., into a share of medalist honors. He barely missed a 25-foot birdie bid on 18 that would have given the side medalist honors outright. Both Edwards-Parker and Wilfong-Womble completed stroke play without a bogey.
“The key was to keep a clean card,” said Edwards. “Bret played great and I was just plodding along. The goal for me was to make as many easy pars as possible while he was on that heater.”
Three sides were one stroke back of the medalists at 12-under 129. That group included Beck, the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up, and Walters; former Southern Methodist University teammates Zach Kingsland and William Sides; and ex-University of Michigan teammates Matthew McLaughlin and Christian Vozza.
An 10-side playoff for the final nine spots in the match-play draw will commence at 7 a.m. CDT on Monday off No. 1 of the East Course and will continue on No. 9, if necessary. The same holes will be played should the playoff extend past two holes. Round-of-64 matches will begin at 8 a.m. on the West Course. Match play continues on Tuesday with the Round of 16 and quarterfinals, followed by the semifinals and 18-hole final on Wednesday. Spectators are welcome and admission is free.
“We could have shot 57…We just got off to a quick start and got some momentum.” – Jace Moore on matching the championship 18-hole scoring mark of 61 with partner Jordan Woolf
“The seed next to your name is super cool but other than that, you’re just starting completely over.” – Carter Loflin on match play
“On the front nine, my body was feeling awesome. I could turn really well and was striking it well. I got on a good run … and Torey did a great job supporting me. But then halfway through the round my body got tired. I’m not used to playing this much golf. Torey really stepped up and carried me in the afternoon.” – Bret Parker on his performance with partner Torey Edwards
“It’s soft enough to stop decently long approach shots into the green. I fully expect [the West Course] to get firmer later in the week. And if it does, the golf course will change quickly. Other than like three holes for us today, we haven’t had any wind and the rough… you can absolutely play out of it.” – Chad Wilfong on why the scoring has been so good
“We were just trying to keep pace with them. A lot of positive vibes out there… It kind of rubs off on you.” – Charlie Palmer on shooting 11-under 130 with partner Inigo Izuzquiza while playing alongside Matthew McLaughlin and Christopher Vozza who shot 12 under par.
“Gosh, it’d be nice to get one [USGA title] and add that feather to my cap, too. It’d be great to have as a reference point while we’re on air.” – Drew Stoltz (11-under 130 with 2008 U.S. Amateur runner-up Drew Kittleson) when asked about his Siriux/XM podcast partner Colt Knost, who won the 2007 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links titles
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.