It was easy for UC Berkeley's Max Homa (pictured), and a little more difficult for Patrick Duncan Jr. of Rancho Santa Fe and Paul Misko of Thousand Oaks, but wins in the U.S. Amateur Round of 64 Wednesday keep the three SCGA members in contention to win the prestigious championship. Both Round of 32 and Round of 16 action will take place Thursday.
Homa, who finished in a tie for 13th during the stroke play portion of the competition, easily handled his opponent Corey Conners of Canada Wednesday, winnibng 5 & 4. Homa got off to an incredible start, carding birdies on four of his first six holes to take a 4 up lead. His advantage never dropped below three. The rising UC Berkeley senior and Valencia native will take on a tough opponent in Justin Thomas Thursday. The two met this year when Homa, who plays for the University of California, beat Thomas in a match at the NCAA Division I tournament, though Cal lost to Alabama in the overall semifinal match. Homa is playing in his third U.S. Amateur.
"Last night I felt really calm knowing that I had made it pretty far two years ago, and I feel like I'm a much better player now," Homa said to ESPN.com. "I just felt confident that if i went out and played solid and played my game, it should be at least good enough to give me a chance, and at the end of the day, that's all you want."
SCGA tournament-regular Paul Misko didn't have as stress-free a day as Homa, as it took him 20 holes to beat Kenny Cook of Noblesville, Ind. and advance past the Round of 64. Misko and Cook traded 1 up leads throughout the majority of the match, before a bogey by Cook on the 20th hole of the match, a par 4 422-yard second hole, left the door wide open enough for Misko to steal the match away. Misko, who also recently made it to match play at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, will face former SCGA member Brandon Hagy of Westlake Village, a teammate of Homa's at UC Berkeley, Thursday morning.
Duncan Jr. was able to pull out a 1 up victory of Nicholas Reach of Moscow, Pa. to join Misko and Homa in the Round of 32. He carded a round of 16 pars, one bogey and one birdie to advance on to face Ricardo Gouveia of Portugal.
Click here to view the full match play bracket.