Michael Weaver of the University of California fell in heartbreaking fashion to Steven Fox in the championship match Sunday at the 112th U.S. Amateur. Weaver’s five-foot par putt to clinch the title on the final hole of regulation went partway into the cup on the left side but horseshoed out to give Fox the hole and extend the match into a playoff. Fox took the match on the first playoff hole when he drained an 18-foot downhill birdie putt.
“Not disappointed, just sad,” said Weaver, who was two up with two holes to play. “I mean I played well. I thought I made my putt on 18. I kind of looked away. I thought it went in, and it didn’t.”
“Gut wrenching and numbing are good descriptions,” Cal head coach Steve Desimone said. “It was one of the toughest losses of all-time for this program, but I’m proud of all the guys and obviously Michael.”
Despite the heartbreaking defeat, Weaver earned an exemption to participate in the U.S. Open and also a likely invite to The Masters in 2013 by reaching the finals.
“It was a great week,” Weaver said. “The finish was unfortunate but I’ll grow from it. It really was a great experience.”
Weaver, who will be a redshirt junior at Cal in 2012-13, was the third Golden Bear to play in the finals of the event and bidding to become the second to win as well as the first while a current member of the team. Ben An, who played one season at Cal in 2010-11 before turning professional, became the youngest player to ever win the U.S. Amateur as a 17-year-old in 2009 prior to playing at Cal. Robert Hamilton is the only other to have made the finals as the event’s runner up in 2001.
Cal had five players in the 112th U.S. Amateur with Brandon Hagy, Max Homa, Michael Kim and Walker Huddy also participating. Hagy reached the semifinals before also falling to Fox, while Homa was eliminated by 2011-12 Jack Nicklaus Award winner Justin Thomas in the Round of 16, and Kim made it to the Round of 64 before being defeated by Bobby Leopold. Huddy was one stroke shy of getting into same playoff Weaver was in to possibly earn a spot in match play.
“I’m really proud of the way the guys played, not just Michael, but all five guys really competed and made this quite a U.S. Amateur,” Desimone said. “I’m obviously very proud and very pleased that we have had such success at the U.S. Amateur. It’s been a great week for the program.”
– Courtesy University of California