CORNELIUS, Ore. - Augusta's Charles Howell outlasted Jeff Golliher of Knoxville, Tenn., in a 24-hole, five hour-plus marathon match in Wednesday's first round in the U.S. Amateur.
Howell made a two-putt par on the sixth extra hole to eliminate Golliher, who missed the green in regulation on the par-4 hole and failed to save par.
"I tried to have confidence and keep believing in myself (during the extra holes)," Howell said. "I thought of the U.S. Junior (earlier this summer) quite a bit."
Howell lost in the U.S. Junior finals in 19 holes after being two holes down with two holes to play against Shane McMenamy.
Tripp Kuhlke, the other Augustan in the U.S. Amateur, lost his first-round match Wednesday 6 and 5 to D.A. Points of Pekin, Ill.
Howell, who was called a "Georgia schoolboy sensation" in a recent national magazine, may face the biggest test of his 17-year-old life today.
Should the senior at Westminster High win his second-round match this morning against Patrick O'Brien of Dothan, Ala., Howell would meet the winner of the Tiger Woods vs. Jerry Courville match.
If Howell and Woods win this morning, their match this afternoon would pit the No. 1-ranked junior golfer (Howell) in the country against the No. 1-ranked men's amateur (Woods).
ESPN will carry live coverage of the U.S. Amateur today beginning at 3 p.m. from Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club's Witch Hollow Course.
After today's double matches, the quarterfinals will be Friday, the semifinals Saturday and the finals on Sunday.
Woods, of course, is bidding to become the first golfer to win the U.S. Amateur three straight years.
If Howell were to win the title, he would become the youngest winner. Woods set that record, winning the 1994 title at age 18.
Howell's match with Golliher was five holes shy of tying the U.S. Amateur record for the longest match. In the previous 95 years of the tournament, one match went 28 holes and four have gone 25 holes.
This is the second year in a row Howell has qualified for the U.S. Amateur. He lost his first-round match last year to Tim Jackson of Germantown, Tenn., 3 and 2.
Meanwhile, Woods overpowered J.D. Manning 3 and 2 to win his first-round match.
A deadly driver that consistently split fairways 320 yards out made up for a shaky putter early in the match as Woods came back from 1-down after six holes to win the next three holes.
The match ended on the 16th green when Manning missed an 8-foot birdie putt that could have kept it going.
Woods, trying to become the first player to win three consecutive Amateur titles, plays Jerry Courville, 37, a longtime amateur with the kind of experience that could prove troublesome, in Thursday's second round.
Manning, a senior at Colorado State, didn't have that kind of experience, but he did stick with the 20-year-old Stanford student longer than expected.
The key shot was a 40-foot chip-in from the back fringe on No. 8 that put Woods 1-up and rattled Manning enough to lead to a bogey on the next hole.
"That was really the turning point of the match," Woods said about the intentionally bladed wedge down the slope from the back fringe.
"With the speed it was going, it would probably have gone off the green," he said.
Instead it hit the stick and dropped in for a birdie.
"It took the wind out of my sails," Manning said. "I think I lost my tempo for a couple of holes."
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