PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) Texas A&M senior Sam Bennett won his third straight match against a new player from the very best 10 in the amateur world ranking, that one Saturday getting him in to the U.S. Amateur championship match with a 1-up victory over Dylan Menante.
All five of Bennetts matches at Ridgewood Country Club have already been against players at No. 27 or better in the amateur ranking.
Bennett, No. 3 on earth amateur ranking, now faces Georgia Southern senior Ben Carr.
They state the semifinal match may be the toughest one, Bennett said, but (the) job isn’t finished. I would like to win everything. Its likely to be considered a fun day, 36 holes. (Bens)) been playing good, too, so that it should be an excellent match.
Carr, who’s No. 70, beat Derek Hitchner 3 and 2.
This means too much to be playing for the U.S. Amateur Championship, Carr said. Theres no specific words which come to mind apart from I simply feel very lucky.
Bennett never trailed against Menante, who was simply section of Pepperdines team that won the NCAA title in 2021 but made a decision to transfer to NEW YORK for his senior year. Nonetheless it was tight the complete way in a match delayed in the beginning by storms.
All square at the turn, Bennett seemed to assume control when he won the 10th hole with a par and the 12th hole with a birdie, giving him a 2-up lead with six to play.
But he made bogey following a poor tee on the 14th, and Menante tied the match with a birdie on the par-3 15th hole, only his second birdie of the match.
Both missed birdie chances from about 15 feet on the 16th.
The match fired up the 17th right when Bennett looked to be on the ropes. He hit his drive on the par 5 in to the rough with a tree before him, restricting his follow-through. He punched out right into a bunker and from 178 yards away, hit it clean to about 12 feet.
Menante missed his birdie putt, and Bennett rolled his in, pumping his fist as he took a 1-up result in the 18th. Menante was in big trouble off the tee and may only punch through trees to the collar of the green. Bennett twirled his club after his shot from the fairway, knowing he hit successful and smiling because the ball settled 12 feet away.
He needed only two putts to win, and his putt settled inches away.
Carr, who has three wins at Georgia Southern, twice trailed on leading nine. He turned the match in his favor with a par on the 11th to take his first lead, and back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes for a 3-up lead.
Carr ended the match on the 16th hole.
The finalists get an invitation to play in the Masters and the U.S. Open next year at LA Country Club, as the winner Sunday also enters the British Open.
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