Clemson’s Doc Redman fashioned an eagle-birdie finish in regulation to square the match and won the U.S. Amateur championship on the first playoff hole Sunday at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
A 19-year-old sophomore from Raleigh, Redman edged University of Texas senior Doug Ghim for the title and in the process earned a spot on the 2017 United States Walker Cup team, a berth in the 2018 U.S. Open and likely an invitation to play in the 2018 Masters.
“I believed in myself and never gave up,” said Redman, who rolled in a monster putt for eagle of the par-5 17th hole and hit his approach to five feet on the par-4 18th to set up the birdie to even the 36-hole final.
Playing the 315-yard, par-4 10th to start the playoff, Redman left his drive in front of the green, and Ghim hooked his ball left into the rough. Ghim’s second crossed the green into a bunker, and his third from the bunker found the sand on the other side.
He eventually missed a putt for bogey and conceded to Redman, who faced a 12-foot birdie putt.
The Walker Cup “was a goal of mine this summer,” he said. “I tried to play in the events that were high graded, and I wanted to play well in them. It was a goal, but I was obviously not on the list (of potential players before the summer). I knew if I could get some good tournaments in, I could be up there.”
He did that. The victory capped an impressive year for Redman. He won twice and finished in the top 10 in eight of Clemson’s 13 tournaments, and his summer included 23rd in the Players Amateur, a tie for 10th in the Southern Amateur, a tie for sixth in the Northeast Amateur and second in the Western Amateur.
In Sunday’s match, Redman lost the first hole, then moved in front by winning Nos. 11 and 13, and he held the upper hand until Ghim pulled even on the 29th (No. 11). The Texas senior won the 31st and 34th holes to take a 2-up lead before Redman’s whirlwind finish.
The Clemson golfer had earned his way into the match-play portion of the championship in a 13-players-for-eight-spots playoff after two rounds of stroke-play qualifying. “I played horrendous” in qualifying, he said. “I didn't think after I finished it I had any chance of moving on to match play.”
Redman is the second Clemson golfer to win the U.S. Amateur, joining 1989 champion Chris Patton.
The U.S. squad will face the Great Britain and Ireland team in September in Los Angeles.