Photo courtesy of USGA/Chris Keane
En route to becoming the first-ever Mississippi native to win the U.S. Amateur Championship title, Andy Ogletree completed the 4th-largest comeback in the tournament’s 119-year history during the 36-hole final round (match play-style).
The 21-year-old Little Rock, Mississippi native was down 4 holes through 5 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, and it appeared that the title was headed to his opponent, John Augenstein. After slowly chipping away at the lead, Ogletree, a senior at Georgia Tech, had tied things up by the 31st hole.
Ogletree took his first lead of the match when Augenstein, 21, of Owensboro, Ky., failed to get up-and-down from the right greenside bunker at the 32nd hole and finished with a bogey.
The two would both par 33 & 34, but a bogey by Augenstein on 35 would give Ogletree a 2-hole lead and the title.
“I showed a lot of resilience out there and never gave up,” said Ogletree, who was playing in his fifth USGA championship. “I kept telling myself I’m going to win this championship, and just always believed that.”
Ogletree led for just four holes, compared to 29 for Augenstein.
“I fought my hardest,” said Augenstein. “But in the end, I didn’t make enough putts or hit enough great shots out there to beat him. He was super solid and really made no mistakes.”
According to the USGA, for winning the U.S. Amateur, Ogletree receives a gold medal and custody of the Havemeyer Trophy for one year. His name will be on a plaque in the Hall of Champions at the USGA Golf Museum in Liberty Corner, N.J. He receives an exemption into the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He also earns a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Amateur, a likely invitation to the 2020 Masters Tournament and an exemption into the 149th Open Championship conducted by The R&A, provided he remains an amateur.
Ogletree is the first U.S. Amateur champion from Mississippi. The last player from Mississippi to win a USGA championship was Steve Wilson (2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur).