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Vincent falls short at US Amateur Championship

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

ZIMBABWE’S leading amateur golfer Kieran Vincent enjoyed a solid second round in the 2020 US Amateur Championship but his valiant round of 71 ultimately proved in vain after failing to progress to the match play phase of the prestigious tournament, which ends today.

The Bandon Trails course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, United States proved very challenging for the 264 golfers during stroke play of the 2020 US Amateur and it was the same for the 22-year-old Harare-born golfer.

Kieran, whose older brother Scott is currently playing on the European Tour, got his campaign off to a difficult start after carding an uncharacteristic 10-over par 81 in the opening round which left him with an uphill task to make the cut.

Although Vincent fared better in the second round after signing for a one-under par round of 71 he still missed the 36-hole cut by seven strokes. The leading 64 competitors after the first two rounds progressed to the knockout competition held as match play to decide the champion.

All knockout matches are over 18 holes except for the final, which consists of 36 holes, separated into morning and afternoon 18-hole rounds today.

The US Amateur, one of the oldest championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association (USGA), is open to any amateur golfers who hold a USGA handicap index not exceeding 2.4.

Some of golf’s greatest golfers have added US Amateur titles to their resume. Tiger Woods was a three-time champion (1994-95-96), Jack Nicklaus was a two-time winner (1959 and 1961) and Phil Mickelson was the 1990 title winner.

Bobby Jones was a five-time US Amateur champion (1924-25-27-28-30). His championship in 1930 helped him become golf’s first-ever “Grand Slam” title holder back when the US Amateur was one of golf’s major championships.

Zimbabwe-born golfer Sean Crocker reached the semifinals of the US Amateur in 2015, but lost to the overall winner, Bryson DeChambeau.

Vincent was making his debut in the US Amateur after a solid comeback season with Liberty University following some injury problems last year.

The former St John’s College pupil was recently named among the best collegiate golfers in the US by the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA).

Vincent enjoyed a remarkable return to the course, finishing the season, which was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, in style by being named to GCAA All-America honourable mention team for the first time in his fledgling career.

The honour meant Kieran joined his brother Scott, who also earned All American honours during his sterling collegiate golf career at Virginia Tech University before turning professional.

Scott is now Zimbabwe’s top-ranked professional golfer plying his trade on the Asian, European and Japan Golf Tours.

And his younger brother Kieran could soon be joining him on the paid ranks, judging by his impressive performances for the Liberty University golf team, which competes in the top-tier National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I.

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