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Troy Vannucci

Troy Vannucci follows through on his tee shot on the eighth hole during the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on Tuesday. 

BANDON — And then there were four.

The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship was down to four pairs after the second round and quarterfinals Tuesday at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, including a pair of college teammates, a pair of accomplished amateurs who are both 40, two friends from a New Jersey club who have chosen to play without caddies all week, and a pair of former college opponents who only Monday advanced past the first round of match play for the first time in the tournament.

The semifinals and championship match are Wednesday on the Old Macdonald layout, with the final scheduled for 1 p.m.

The kids in the group are East Carolina University teammates Logan Shuping and Blake Taylor, who will be seniors in the fall.

They reached the semifinals with a pair of matches Tuesday that went to the 18th hole, including a morning battle where they had to win the final three holes to advance.

“We weren’t ready to go home,” Shuping said.

After Shuping birdied the 16th and 17th holes to square their morning match against Andrew Noto and James Fuselier, Taylor made birdie on 18 to win the match and set up their quarterfinal, which ended in a 2-up victory over Bobby Leopold and Liam Purslowe.

“I was looking forward to it because I played terrible this morning — he carried us,” Taylor said.

Shuping made a long birdie putt on the first hole in the quarterfinals and the pair never trailed, though they had to go all 18 holes, clinching the win with a birdie on the 18th hole when Shuping hit his approach to 6 inches.

“We got our money’s worth today going all 36 holes,” Taylor said.

“I’m worried about our caddies,” Shuping added, explaining that both golfers have their dads on their bags this week.

They beat arguably the hottest team in match play. Leopold and Purslowe, brothers-in-law from Rhode Island, easily won their Monday match and then beat former NFL player Kyle Williams and his partner, Gregory Berthelot, 5 and 3 in the second round.

“We had a lot of fun,” Williams said. “We just didn’t make enough birdies today. We played solid but just couldn’t get the ball to go in the hole.”

That wasn’t the case for Taylor and Shuping, who said being in the semifinal match is a bonus on an otherwise great week.

“It’s super exciting,” Shuping said. “I was looking forward to this just because of this place. If there’s a good year to make the four-ball, this is it.”

The teammates are enjoying the week at Bandon Dunes with their families.

Their opponents in the semifinals are Taylor Wood and Andrew Medley, who reached the semifinals with a pair of 2 and 1 victories, first over Jason Anthony and Randy Haag and then over Devon Hopkins and Matt Kleinrock.

They came off their quarterfinal match happy, but exhausted.

“The air has let out of the balloon,” Medley said. “This afternoon, everyone was tired. The wind just added to it.”

The quarterfinals were the first time all week with the sun shining and the wind blowing closer to a normal summer at Bandon Dunes. And that was just fine with Medley.

“I love it,” he said. “The golf course was designed for windy conditions.”

Wood and Medley, who got to know each other back when Wood was at USC and Medley at Arizona, birdied four of the first six holes and took an early 3-up lead, holding on after Hopkins and Kleinrock briefly pulled within a hole in the middle of the round.

“I think we both ran out of gas,” Wood said. “It was a long day.

“The wind was a whole different dynamic. There was a lot of mental exhaustion.”

The side — four-ball lingo for team — had gone 2-up on the 16th hole when Hopkins and Kleinrock took birdie. But the match was threatening to go to the 18th after Kleinrock hit a wedge to near tap-in range on the par-5 17th with Medley in a deep bunker short of the green and Wood with a tricky lie in tall grass right of the green with no direct angle at the flag.

Then Medley hit one of the best shots of the day, getting his bunker shot to roll nearly to the same spot as Kleinrock, where he easily tapped in for the victory.

“The pin was in the back of the green,” Medley said. “I was thinking if I could just chunk something out it might roll back there. It just kept rolling.”

They had already rallied from three holes down in the morning match a birdie fest that saw them beat Anthony and Haag with three birdies and an eagle in the final five holes.

Kleinrock and Hopkins won an entertaining morning match over brothers Hunter and Ryder Epson 1-up when Ryder Epson’s short birdie putt on 18 that would have extended the match slid past the hole. That came after Ryder holed out a pitch shot for eagle on the 15th hole to square the match and Kleinrock won the 16th with a birdie.

Brothers Hunter, left, and Ryder Epson celebrate after Ryder holed out his chip shot on the 15th hole in their second-round match at the U.S. …

On the other half of the bracket, USGA veterans Todd Mitchell and Scott Harvey, who have played in all five editions of the championship, were winning both their matches to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2015.

“That’s all we can ask for right now, is just to keep playing the way we are,” Mitchell said.

They beat Brandon Cigna and Ben Warnquist, the 2016 runners-up, 2 and 1 in the morning, never trailing after having three birdies in the first five holes.

Then they took out Santa Clara University teammates Matthew McCarty and Derek Ackerman in the quarterfinals 3 and 2, going ahead for the first time with a 40-foot birdie by Mitchell on No. 10 and adding two birdies later in the round.

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Being this far in a tournament is nothing new for the partners. They were in the semifinals in the inaugural event and the quarterfinals in 2017 and Harvey was the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion while Mitchell as runner-up in that tournament in 2008.

McCarty and Ackerman were part of the best match in the morning, a battle with Cullen Brasfield and Tyler Moore that went to the 20th hole. McCarty and Ackerman, who were among three medalists in qualifying this week, won when McCarty hit his tee shot close on the par-3 second hole and Brasfield and Moore both missed the green — one right and one long left — and were unable to get up and down.

The other side in the semifinals is New Jersey friends Troy Vannucci and Vince Kwon, who won their morning match 5 and 3 over John Faulk and Matt Nicholas and came back to beat Matt Parziale and Herbie Aikens 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals.

Vannucci and Kwon, who are both playing in their first USGA event (Harvey and Mitchell have been in 59 between them) are playing without caddies this week.

“We like to do our own thing,” Vannucci said. “We keep it simple out there.”

They needed a birdie on the 18th hole in their opening match to get to Tuesday, then had both matches end early.

Against Faulk and Nicholas, they were 1-down early, but birdied six of the final 10 holes.

In the quarterfinals, they birdied the first hole and then won the seventh with a par to go 2-up. But Parziale nearly holed his tee shot on the par-3 eighth to get his side back within one. Vannucci and Kwon won two of the next three and were in control the rest of the way.

They said the wind provided a big challenge in the quarterfinals.

“It was a totally different golf course out here,” Vannucci said. “You had to be precise.”

In the quarterfinals, they took down one of the top golfers in the event. Parziale won the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur and was low-amateur at the U.S. Open last summer, tying for 48th place.

Earlier Tuesday, Parziale and Aikens beat Derek Busby and Stewart Hagestad in a battle of the titans. Hagestad won the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2016 and was on the United States team in the 2017 Walker Cup.

Their match went 18 holes and featured 15 birdies and an eagle, with Parziale winning with a birdie on the 18th hole.

Tuesday's Results

BANDON – Results from Tuesday's second round of match play at the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, played at the 7,024-yard, par-71 Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (Old Macdonald Course).

Round of 16

(Upper Bracket)

Logan Shuping, Salisbury, N.C. & Blake Taylor, Wilmington, N.C. (133) def. Andrew Noto, Metairie, La. & James Fuselier, New Orleans, La. (135), 1 up

Bobby Leopold, Coventry, R.I. & Tyler Cooke, Warwick, R.I. (131) def. Kyle Williams, Ruston, La. & Gregory Berthelot, Baton Rouge, La. (131), 5 and 3

Taylor Wood, Coto de Caza, Calif. & Andrew Medley, Scottsdale, Ariz. (129) def. Jason Anthony, Fairfield, Calif. & Randy Haag, Orinda, Calif. (132), 2 and 1

Devon Hopkins, Jacksonville Beach, Fla. & Matt Kleinrock, Jacksonville, Fla. (134) def. Hunter Epson, Long Beach, Calif. & Ryder Epson, Long Beach, Calif. (132), 1 up

(Lower Bracket)

Matthew McCarty, Scottsdale, Ariz. & Derek Ackerman, Santa Clara, Calif. (128) def. Cullen Brasfield, La Quinta, Calif. & Tyler Moore, Escondido, Calif. (133), 20 holes

Todd Mitchell, Bloomington, Ill. & Scott Harvey, Kernersville, N.C. (131) def. Brandon Cigna, Arlington, Va. & Ben Warnquist, Olney, Md. (134), 2 and 1

Troy Vannucci, Marlton, N.J. & Vince Kwon, Marlton, N.J. (128) def. John Faulk, Lake Charles, La. & Matt Nicholas, Lake Charles, La. (133), 5 and 3

Matt Parziale, Brockton, Mass. & Herbie Aikens, Kingston, Mass. (134) def. Derek Busby, Ruston, La. & Stewart Hagestad, Newport Beach, Calif. (130), 1 up

Quarterfinal Round

(Upper Bracket)

Logan Shuping, Salisbury, N.C. & Blake Taylor, Wilmington, N.C. (133) def. Bobby Leopold, Coventry, R.I. & Tyler Cooke, Warwick, R.I. (131), 2 up

Taylor Wood, Coto de Caza, Calif. & Andrew Medley, Scottsdale, Ariz. (129) def. Devon Hopkins, Jacksonville Beach, Fla. & Matt Kleinrock, Jacksonville, Fla. (134), 2 and 1

(Lower Bracket)

Todd Mitchell, Bloomington, Ill. & Scott Harvey, Kernersville, N.C. (131) def. Matthew McCarty, Scottsdale, Ariz. & Derek Ackerman, Santa Clara, Calif. (128), 3 and 2

Troy Vannucci, Marlton, N.J. & Vince Kwon, Marlton, N.J. (128) def. Matt Parziale, Brockton, Mass. & Herbie Aikens, Kingston, Mass. (134), 3 and 2

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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