PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — Danny Lee was so dominant that his day ended early at the U.S. Amateur. Derek Fathauer had to work overtime twice just to get back into the quarterfinals.
Lee, the world’s top-ranked amateur at 18, cruised past both of his opponents in match play Thursday and moved within three wins of supplanting Tiger Woods as the youngest champion in Amateur history. He dominated Clemson freshman Jacob Burger 5 and 4 in the second round, then defeated Wichita State’s Connor McHenry 7 and 6 in the round of 16.
Meanwhile, Fathauer needed extra holes in both of his matches, including 22 to outlast Kevin Tway. He sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the fourth hole to advance to the quarterfinals for the second straight year.
“(I) just had a pretty good read on it, so I had nothing to lose,” Fathauer said, calling it “a perfect putt.”
Also advancing were Drew Kittleson, Morgan Hoffman, Adam Mitchell, Charlie Holland, Patrick Reed and Graham Hill.
The semifinals are Saturday, with the winners squaring off in a 36-hole final on Sunday at the par-70 course. Lee looks like one of the favorites to make it that far.
He led for all but one hole of his two matches Thursday, falling behind after his first hole of the day. Burger birdied the par-4 first before Lee overtook him with consecutive pars on Nos. 2 and 3, then took control quickly with birdies on two of his first three holes against McHenry, the Missouri Valley Conference champion playing in his first U.S. Amateur.
“Every putt I had, it just fell in the hole,” Lee said. “Every time I held my putter, I could feel that it (was) going to go in.”
It has been a busy summer for Lee, who on Friday will play his ninth straight day of competitive golf.
The medalist and match play winner at the Western Amateur, Lee tied for 20th last weekend in his PGA Tour debut at the Wyndham Championship, then raced across the state to Pinehurst just in time to make his third U.S. Amateur appearance.
This one has been his most successful, by far. He didn’t make it out of stroke play in 2006 and he lost in the first round last year at the Olympic Club in Daly City, Calif.
Next up for Lee: Hoffman, who beat Arkansas senior Andrew Landry 2 and 1.
Fathauer, playing in his fourth Amateur, had to beat two Oklahoma State teammates to reach the round of eight. He defeated freshman Peter Uihlein in 20 holes in the morning before working extra to top Tway.
Fathauer was 3-up through 14 holes before bogeys on the 15th and 17th and a double-bogey on the 16th squared the match.
“I was just swinging … wild, I guess,” Fathauer said. “Not good. And it caught up to me.”
The former Louisville player won it on the par-5 fourth. He recovered after he sent his drive into a fairway bunker, using an 8-iron to place his 160-yard third shot about 20 feet from the flagstick, then sinking his long uphill putt.
That put the pressure on Tway, whose 10-foot birdie putt broke left of the hole.
“I felt like I hit a good putt,” Tway said. “I’m real disappointed after having come back, to fight so hard and to not have it be good enough to win. It hurts.”
Tway, whose father Bob won the 1986 PGA Championship, reached the round of 16 in the morning by eliminating stroke medalist Robbie Fillmore 3 and 2.
Mitchell, the Porter Cup champion, defeated Oklahoma State sophomore Rickie Fowler 5 and 4. Next up for the Georgia senior is Holland, a Texas junior who topped Stanford’s Sihwan Kim in 23 holes.