CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — Michael Weaver opened a big lead and hung on to beat Justin Thomas 3 and 2 on Saturday to advance to the final of the U.S. Amateur championship at the Cherry Hills Country Club.
Weaver will face Steven Fox, of Hendersonville, Tenn., in today’s 36-hole match-play championship. Fox won his semifinal 2-up over Brandon Hagy, who is Weaver’s teammate at the University of California at Berkeley.
The 21-year-old Weaver, of Fresno, Calif., opened his semifinal match with Thomas with three consecutive birdies to go 2 up. He stretched his lead to 5 up after the 10th hole and withstood a rally by Thomas, an Alabama freshman who won three of four holes to get within two of Weaver.
“The start was incredible, awesome,” Weaver said. “I just kept hitting good shots and kept giving myself chances. That really helped me out a lot because I needed it. Justin came around a little bit and I slipped a little bit. But to start like that in the biggest match I’ve ever played in, that was an awesome feeling.”
Thomas said Weaver simply outplayed him on the front nine and the deficit proved too much to overcome.
“I didn’t battle through it well enough,” Thomas said. “Although it hurts a lot to lose, especially this late in the tournament, it’s a lot better to get beat than to lose.”
The championship today brings together two longshots from an original field of 312 golfers from 43 states and 20 countries who began the stroke play qualifying on Monday. Fox was the No. 63 seed and Weaver the No. 60 seed.
Along the way, Weaver had to get past Thomas, the Jack Nicklaus award winner as the nation’s top college golfer. Fox advanced to the semifinals by defeating Chris Williams, the University of Washington star who was the top-ranked amateur.
CHAMPIONS TOUR: In Endicott, N.Y., defending champion John Huston shot 5-under-par 67 to take a one-stroke lead over Brad Faxon after the second round of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
Huston has a 12-under 132 total. Faxon shot 66.
Willie Wood and Peter Senior are three strokes back at 9-under. Wood had 68, and Senior shot 67.
WEB.COM TOUR: In Overland Park, Kan., Matt Weibring shot 6-under-par 65 in the third round to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion James Nitties at the Midwest Classic.
Weibring has a three-day total of 14-under 199.Weibring, who is playing in his 150th career event on the Web.com Tour, will be seeking his first victory today.
LPGA TOUR: In North Plains, Ore., Japan’s Mika Miyazato shot 4-under-par 68 to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Safeway Classic.
Miyazato, tied for the first-round lead with Sydnee Michaels after 65, had an 11-under 133 total on Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek Course.
South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, the Toledo Classic winner last week, was second after 68. Ryu and Miyazato, winless in her four seasons on the LPGA Tour, will be paired together again today after playing in the same group the first two days.
Cristie Kerr and Inbee Park shot 70 to reach 8-under, and Michaels had 72 to join top-ranked Yani Tseng and Paula Creamer at-7 under. Tseng had 67, and Creamer shot 69.