Record-Courier staff report
Kent State senior Corey Conners is on to the semifinals of the United States Amateur after a 5-and-3 victory over co-medalist Neil Raymond on Friday at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
After trailing early in the quarterfinals, Conners (Canada) pulled all-square by winning the seventh hole, then made his move with a back-nine run that included wins at holes 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. He then closed out the match with a winning par on the 15th hole.
"I definitely had really high expectations coming into the tournament," said Conners. "My game has been really solid all summer."
In today's semifinals, Conners will play England's Matt Fitzpatrick, who plays at Northwestern and was the low amateur at last month's Open Championship at Muirfield in Scotland. Australians Brady Watt and Oliver Goss will meet in the other semifinal.
"Obviously (today) is a pretty important day for Corey Conners," said Kent State coach Herb Page. "A win puts him one win away from the championship, but it also means playing in The Masters."
Traditionally, the two finalists at the Amateur stay in the crows nest of Augusta National and are exempt to The Masters.
"I texted and talked to Corey after the quarterfinals, and he said he's going to just keep doing the things that got him this far. He is in the middle of a great run. Is this a surprise? Not to me. Corey was a Third Team All-American (last year). He played in the World Am. He's an All-America Scholar too, with a 3.65 in actuarial mathematics."
Conners is the third Kent State player to advance to the U.S. Amateur semifinals, following Eric Frishette in 1994, Ben Curtis in 1999 at Pebble Beach and Ryan Yip in 2006 at Hazeltine.
NBC will air the semifinal and championship rounds from 4 to 6 p.m. today and Sunday.