Crocker storms into US Jnr Am quarter-fi?nals

HARARE - Zimbabwe's rising golf sensation Sean Crocker inched ever so closer to ending his junior career with U.S. Junior Amateur championship after storming into the quarter finals of the match play portion of the tournament.

Crocker had earlier scored three-and-two victories over, John Augenstein, of Owensboro in the round of 32 to book his place into the last 16.

“The front nine flip-flopped the whole way,” Crocker told USGA after his round of 32 match.

“He went one up on the first hole, I birdied three and four to go one up, then he birdied five and six to go one up, and finally I birdied seven through nine to go two up. Then he had a few bad holes on the back nine and I kind of took control of the match from there.”

Crocker, who was born in Zimbabwe but lives in Westlake Village, California went on to face close friend Sahith Theegala, of Chino Hills, in Thursday afternoon’s round of 16.

The stroke-play co-medalist lived up to expectation as he continued his fine play with a hard-fought 20-hole victory over Theegala.

The two talented players had a seesaw match that saw Crocker take a three-up lead through four holes only to have Theegala win three out of the next four, including an eagle-two on the 273-yard, par-four sixth hole, to pull back to all square.

Crocker went on to win number 10 and 11 holes to regain a two-up advantage before Theegala squared the match again with wins on the 13th and 18th holes.

However, a bogey on the par-four second hole by Theegala saw Crocker advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in his junior career.

In the quarterfinals, Crocker was yesterday scheduled to face a formidable opponent and home-state favorite William Zalatoris, of Plano, Texas.

Zalatoris is playing in his fifth career U.S. Junior Amateur.

Crocker, who lost in the Round of 64 a year ago, is trying to become the first number one seed to win the U.S. Junior since Jordan Spieth did it in 2009.

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