Holcomb Succumbs to Pinehurst No. 2
By Will Johnson
PINEHURST, NC – Somedays the golf course is your friend while other days it isn’t. Pinehurst No. 2, located in Pinehurst, NC was the site of this year’s US Amateur Golf Championship and up until Saturday, Aug. 17, it had befriended former Crockett Bulldog and current SHSU Bearkat Will Holcomb V.
Holcomb played his heart out through stroke play and slipped into the match play portion of the tournament with a +4 on one of the most challenging courses on American soil.
Pinehurst No. 2 is the only course to have hosted all five of the USGA’s most important events. The course has played host to the US Open in 1999, 2005 and 2014. It is also scheduled to host the 2024 US Open.
The course has also hosted the US Women’s Open in 2014, the US Amateur in 1962 and 2008, the US Women’s Amateur in 1989 and the US Senior Open in 1994.
The top 64 players moved on to match play where Holcomb defeated England’s Thomas Forster 2 up, in the first round. In the round of 32, the Crockett native bested Sweden’s Ludvig Aberg on the 18th hole to win the match 1 up.
In the round of 16, Holcomb faced fellow Texan Pierceson Coody, the grandson of 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody and won the match by a score of 2-up.
Moving into the quarterfinals, Holcomb blistered his opponent, Australia’s Karl Vilips – 4 and 3 – to advance to Saturday’s semifinal round against John Augenstein from Kentucky.
The two golfers teed off Saturday at 1:35 pm CST and after two holes the match was even. On the par 4, third hole, Holcomb took the early lead when he rolled in a birdie putt while Augenstein parred the hole.
The lead was short lived for the SHSU Bearkat as Augenstein parred the 526-yard par 4 fourth hole while Holcomb carded a bogey to square the match.
After Holcomb and Augenstein both made par on five, Augenstein won the sixth and seventh holes to go 2-up. Holcomb battled back, however, to slice the lead in half on the ninth hole with a birdie.
The match remained even after 10 holes, but on 11, Pinehurst showed why the USGA selected the course for the US Open in 2024.
Holcomb hit his approach shot just over the green while Augenstein was left with 25 foot putt after his second shot. Holcomb pulled out a 60-degree wedge for his chip and appeared to hit the ball perfectly. It landed on the edge of the green and began to trickle towards the hole.
As it rolled towards a possible birdie, the ball gathered steam and when it reached the hole, the ball went three-quarters of the way down but popped out.
If it had dropped, the match would have been all-square with seven holes left to play. As it was, the two golfers moved to the 12th tee box with Augenstein still 1-up.
The two golfers both parred 12 and 13, but unfortunately, the course jumped up and bit Holcomb on the 14th green. After knocking his birdie attempt within three feet of the cup, Holcomb was faced with a tricky downhill putt for par. While he took his time lining it up, he never seemed quite comfortable with the putt.
When the ball was struck, it was on track. It reached the hole, rolled around top part of the cup – seemingly touching every bit of it – but lipped out to drop Holcomb to 2-down.
Augenstein and Holcomb both made three on the par 3 15th hole, but Augenstein put the match away on 16 when he made birdie to secure the match, 3 and 2.
From all of us at The Messenger Sports, we would like to say congratulations to Will Holcomb V for a spectacular tournament and we wish you the best of luck in your future golfing endeavors.
PHOTO COURTESY OF GRAYCIE GIBBINS HOLCOMB
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.