Aug. 23, 2008
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. –
Drew Kittleson, a rising sophomore member of the Florida State University men’s golf team, will play for the U.S. Amateur Championship on Sunday after he defeated Adam Mitchell by a score of 4 and 2 in the semifinals on Pinehurst No. 2. Kittleson will play Danny Lee in 36 holes of match play for the title in the oldest golf championship in United States golf history.
The first 18 holes of the event will begin at 8:00 a.m. and the final 18 holes will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. Lee, the world’s No. 1 ranked amateur player, was a 3 and 2 winner over Georgia’s Patrick Reed in the second of the semifinals played on Saturday.
Kittleson begins play on Sunday looking to become the first Florida State golfer to win the U.S. Amateur championship. He is the second Seminole golfer to reach the finals and follows in the footsteps of Florida State Athletics Hall of Fame member Downing Gray. Gray was the runner-up at the 1962 U.S. Amateur and enjoyed an illustrious career on the PGA Tour.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Kittleson after his victory over Mitchell. “I can’t believe it and I’m excited.”
Kittleson won his semifinal match as he was nearly flawless over the final nine holes of the afternoon. After tying the match on hole No. 9, he gained four holes over the final seven holes of the match to win going away. He did not lose a hole over his final nine holes as he went from tied on the hole No. 9 to one-up on hole No. 10, to two-up on 11, three-up on 14 and finally four-up on 16. Kittleson closed the match by winning the 16th hole to go up by four holes with only two to play.
After the two players halved the first hole, Mitchell seemingly took control of the match as he won the second hole. He held as much as a two hole lead through five holes before Kittleson made his move toward the victory. Kittleson won seven of the final 10 holes while tying two and losing only one. He was two-under par over the final 10 holes while Mitchell was four-over par during the same period.
Kittleson felt that he took control of the match on hole No. 11 when he increased his lead to two holes.
“That was definitely a turning point,” said Kittleson. “He was in the weed and sand area and I was in the middle of the fairway. I went first and hit in there about six feet. And then he hit it to about 10 feet; then he missed and I missed. So I figured we would tie the hole but he rammed it a good four or five feet beyond it (the hole) and he ended up missing that.”
The victory marked Kittleson’s fifth consecutive victory in match play during the event. He has yet to play the 17th or 18th holes in any of his first five matches. Kittleson will see those two holes at least once as he will play Lee in the championship match which is scheduled for 36 holes.
“Yes, I’m a little bit (surprised by my success in this tournament) but I’m pretty self confident I guess you could say,” said Kittleson. “I don’t think anybody should go into an event thinking they can’t win.”