During the Fourth of July holiday weekend, while many were enjoying some summer downtime, two of Liberty's golfers were busy on the course.
Liberty's Jonathan Yaun and Kieran Vincent competed in the 2020 North & South Amateur at the famed Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C. The week-long event utilized two of the Pinehurst Resort Donald Ross designed course, No. 4 and No. 2, the host site for three U.S. Opens (1999, 2005 and 2014).
Both Vincent and Yaun advanced through the medalist stroke play round, which pared the field down to the top 32 golfers. Yaun fired a 3-under par 137 (No. 4 course – 66; No. 2 course – 71) to finish tied for ninth, and Vincent carded a 1-under par 139 (No. 2 course – 72; No. 4 course – 67) to share 17th place.
Mimicking the tournament format of the USGA's U.S. Amateur, a tournament winner was determined through five rounds of match play. Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling many qualifying events for the U.S. Amateur, the USGA adjusted its qualifying procedures and decided to offer entrance into the 2020 U.S. Amateur to the both the finalists for the 2020 North & South Amateur.
Vincent was unable to get out of the Round of 32, falling 4 & 3 to UNCG's Nick Lyerly to end his run at this year's North & South Amateur.
Yaun opened his match play run with a 2 up win over West Virginia's Matthew Sharpstene before posting a dominant win in the Round of 16.
Yaun fired a 7-under par 28 on the front side of the famed No. 2 course to win his first nine holes against Oklahoma State's Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen before closing out the 9 & 8 win with a par on the No. 10 hole.
Late that same Saturday afternoon, Yaun, who is a rising junior at Liberty, advanced to the semifinals following an extra hole win over Clemson's Turk Pettit. After a back nine charge by Pettit to even the match on the 17th hole, Yaun finished off the 19th hole win with a birdie on the No. 2 opening hole.
Needing just one more victory to automatically qualify for the U.S. Amateur, Yaun squared off against Georgia Tech's Tyler Strafaci in the semifinals during the morning flight on July the Fourth. Yaun opened up a 2 up lead after the eighth hole, but Strafaci won three holes on the back nine to end Yaun's run at the top amateur event with a 2 & 1 win.
Following Yaun's impressive run during this top amateur event, LFSN reporter Alan York had a chance to talk with Yaun about returning to the course, his tournament run and how the summer events are keeping him in shape for the 2020-21 academic year.
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