Aug. 22, 2008
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. –
Florida State men’s golfer Drew Kittleson advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur with a 3 and 2 victory over Derek Fathauer on Pinehurst No. 2 on Friday. Kittleson is within two wins of claiming the most prestigious amateur championship in all of golf and within one victory of earning a probable invitation to play in the 2009 Master’s Championship.
The Amateur Championship is the oldest golf championship in this country – one day older than the U.S. Open. Throughout its history, the U.S. Amateur has become the most coveted of all amateur titles. Many of the great names of professional golf, such as Gene Littler, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Stadler, Jerry Pate, Mark O’Meara, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, grace the Havemeyer Cup which is awarded to the tournament champion.
The U.S. Amateur Champion receives an exemption into the 2009 U.S. Open and British Open, and a probable invitation to play in the 2009 Masters Tournament, if he remains an amateur. He also receives a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Amateur field so long as he remains an amateur. Traditionally, the champion and the runner-up earn invitations to play in the Master’s Championship the next year.
Kittleson won his fourth consecutive match in defeating Fathauer as he continued his torrid play in the event. In holding a three hole lead with only two holes remaining, Kittleson closed out his fourth consecutive win in less than 18 holes. He won his first match by the same 3 and 2 score; his second by a 4 and 3 count and his quarterfinal round match by a 5 and 4 count. Kittleson is one of two remaining players in the event who has yet to play an 18-hole match play contest.
“I’m excited, I’m definitely excited and looking forward to the other matches,” said Kittleson. “I felt pretty in control when I was four up and then I had a pretty relatively easy fairway bunker shot on 12 and he was way left in the rough and then hit it over. I just fatted the bunker shot and didn’t make bogey and he made a good 15 footer for par and that kind of turned the momentum. I’ve been playing well all week so there was no reason for even if you’re down to still have confidence and try to comeback.”
Kittleson took the lead on the fourth hole of his quarterfinal match against Fathauer and never looked back. He increased his lead to as many as four holes and won the match by three as the twosome played 16 of 18 holes. The rising Seminole sophomore won or tied 11 of his final 13 holes to take the win. The match was tied after three holes as Fathauer won the first hole, Kittleson the second and the pair tied the third hole. Kittleson then won four of the next eight holes (without losing any) to take command of the match.
Kittleson will face Adam Mitchell, a senior at the University of Georgia in the semifinals. Mitchell advanced to the semifinals with a 2 and 1 victory over Charlie Holland of the University of Texas. Florida State faced Georgia in the spring 2008 U.S. Collegiate Championships. The Seminoles finished fifth and the Bulldogs ninth in the team standings of that event. Kittleson finished in a tied for 38th place with a score of 225 while Mitchell finished in a tie for 33rd place in the individual standings with a score of 223.
“My college team, Florida State, went to Scotland about three days before the U.S. Amateur and we got back and I just drove up here,” said Kittleson. “I played really well out there (in Scotland) and for about two weeks before then I was playing well; so like I said, I peaked at the right time and am playing well.”