BANDON, Ore. – Arkansas junior Segundo Oliva Pinto had his run at the 2020 USGA U.S. Amateur Championship end in heartbreaking fashion on the 18th hole in the Round of 16 at Bandon Dunes.
Oliva Pinto was down two on two occasions in the match versus Tyler Strafaci only to battle back each time. Oliva Pinto erased the first deficit with back-to-back birdies on holes 9 and 10 to knot the match. After losing holes 11 and 12, Oliva Pinto rallied to win holes 13 and 16 to square the match with two holes to play. Both players had a par n the par-4, 17th to go to the 18th tied.
On the 18th hole, both players were off the green in three shots. Oliva Pinto was in the green-side bunker and Strafaci short of the green. As Oliva Pinto was going through his preparation for his fourth shot, his caddie touched the sand which resulted in a penalty that handed the match to Strafaci.
“I was completely shocked,” Oliva Pinto said in a Golf Channel interview. “I was just trying to get the shot near and make an up-and-down to win the match. Apparently (my caddie) touched the sand and, well, that’s a penalty for the hole so the match ended there. My caddie didn’t say anything, but it doesn’t really matter because what happened, happened, and it won’t change.
“I will definitely try to use the positive things from this week (for the upcoming season).”
Oliva Pinto, playing his first U.S. Amateur, carded rounds of 68-75 and tied for 36th in stroke play to qualify for match play.
In his opening-round of match play, Oliva Pinto was down one with two holes to play before rallying to win the 17th hole to and tying the 18th hole to force extra holes. Oliva Pinto then rolled in a 12-foot birdie on the 19th hole to defeat John Gough. Earlier Thursday, in the Round of 32, he was 3-Up after nine holes. His opponent, McClure Meissner, won holes 10 and 16 to get to within one. Oliva Pinto answered with a birdie on the 17th hole to close out the match and win 2&1.
Oliva Pinto was looking to be the first Razorback to reach the U.S. Amateur quarterfinal since David Lingmerth in 2009. R.H. Sikes, the 1963 NCAA Champion, was runner-up in the 1963 U.S. Amateur.