Cohen Trolio, of West Point, Miss., won his last three holes against Austin Squires, advancing past the No. 64 seed, 3 and 1, to continue his run at the 119th U.S. Amateur Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club. At 17 years and 8 days, Trolio is the youngest semifinalist since at least 1993, when age records were first kept.
Despite consistently outdriving Trolio by 40 yards, Squires was 2 down until he birdied the 12th and drove the green at the 320-yard 13th, converting the 30-foot eagle putt to square the match. But the University of Cincinnati graduate could not sustain his momentum, as Trolio won the next three holes with pars to close out the match.
“I know my expectations, and I know that’s good enough to beat just about anybody,” said Trolio, who is playing in his first U.S. Amateur. “[Squires] was making a little run, and I was like, I’m going to focus on myself. Sticking to my plan worked.”
Fellow Mississippian Andy Ogletree, 21, of Little Rock, joined Trolio in the semifinals with a 6-and-5 victory over Spencer Ralston. Ogletree, a senior at Georgia Tech, lost the first hole when he lipped out a 4-foot par putt, but won eight of his final 12 at the renowned Course No. 2 at Pinehurst, punctuated by a 30-foot birdie putt to close out the No. 12 seed.
“It means a lot,” said Ogletree. “I mean, this is the biggest amateur tournament in the world. It started with 7,000 [players], and now there are four. So it’s pretty cool, and I’m definitely not going to take it for granted.”
On the other side of the bracket, William Holcomb V, 21, of Crockett, Texas took advantage of a slow start by his opponent, Karl Vilips, to cruise to a 4-and-3 victory. Vilips, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Friday, bogeyed six of his first nine holes as he struggled with a blister on his right foot. Holcomb took advantage, building a 4-up lead at the turn.
“On the front nine, I kind of felt the momentum going,” said Holcomb, who was introduced to the game by his sister, Ann, who played at Stephen F. Austin University. “On [No. 9] I hit the best shot of the championship. I was so locked in.”
Two days ago Holcomb appeared to be headed for an early exit, trailing Thomas Forster 4 down through 10 holes in his Round of 64 match, but the senior at Sam Houston State won six of the final eight holes to advance.
He will face John Augenstein, 21, of Owensboro, Ky., the highest remaining player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (No. 38), who dispatched Palmer Jackson, 3 and 2. Augenstein surged to a 3-up lead through seven holes for the second consecutive match, highlighted on Friday by an eagle on the 566-yard par-5 fifth.
“I got off to a really good start and was in really good rhythm,” said Augenstein, who was also a semifinalist in the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur. “You can’t give any holes out here, or else you’re going to get beat, and luckily I didn’t today.”
The semifinal round will start at 2:15 p.m. EDT on Saturday, and televised on Fox from 3-6 p.m. The winners advance to Sunday’s 36-hole championship match, which will be played over Course No. 4 and Course No. 2, with the morning round starting at 9 a.m.
With a victory on Saturday, Cohen Trolio would be the youngest finalist in U.S. Amateur history. The present record is held by Sung Yoon Kim, who was 17 years, 3 months and 5 days when he played in the championship match in 1999.
John Augenstein is vying to be the first player from Kentucky to win the U.S. Amateur. The best recent finish by a player from the Bluegrass State was Justin Thomas, of Goshen, who reached the semifinals in 2012.
Neither Trolio nor Augenstein has trailed during match play, joining Ben An (2009) as the only players to advance to the semifinals without trailing since 2008.
Trolio does not currently have a WAGR ranking because he has not played in an Elite, Category A, or Category B rated event in the last two years. He was the only player in the match-play field without a WAGR ranking.
There was a 1 hour, 3 minute delay during the quarterfinal round due heavy rains that caused standing water on the course. Play was suspended at 4:32 p.m. and resumed at 5:35 p.m.
“Loren Roberts and Jim Gallagher Jr. told my dad that if you have talent, you don’t need a 60-degree [wedge]. You’ve got to learn to chip with something that [doesn’t] sit on the ground wide open for you.”
- Cohen Trolio, on why a 56-degree wedge is the most lofted club in his bag
“It’s awesome. Just speaks for Mississippi and junior golf in Mississippi. I mean, you’ve had me, Davis Riley, Wilson Furr, Braden Thornberry, now you’ve got Cohen Trolio, Cecil Wegener, the list goes on. There’s a lot of guys from Mississippi right now, and it’s really cool.”
- Andy Ogletree, on facing Trolio, another Mississippian, in the semifinals
“If things are going bad, I have to lie to myself. I tell myself, I’m fine, I’m the best driver of the golf ball. When you’re in competition, there’s no time to think negative. If you do, you’re going to fulfill that prophecy. That positivity is the only way I’m going to get through a week like this.”
- William Holcomb V, on what he learned from playing the 2019 North and South Amateur at Pinehurst
“It puts things into perspective. These guys out here, they’re living for this. They want to win more than anything. I want to win too, but there are other things that I’d rather happen in this world.”
- Holcomb, on how being married has improved his golf game
“Those guys have run the races. They’re older than I am and they have a little bit more experience than me. They have been so positive and it has helped. Theo made it to the semifinals, so kind of knowing what was going through his head could benefit me, so I’m sure I’ll talk to him again tonight.”
- John Augenstein, on support he’s gotten from former Vanderbilt teammates, Theo Humphrey and Will Gordon, who advanced to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals in 2017 and 2018, respectively: