Schniederjans, the Georgia Tech star and former Harrison High School standout, only needed 13 holes to beat Temple’s Matt Teesdale and reach today’s round of 32, while Beck, the Kennesaw State golfer, lost to Canada’s Garrett Rank.
Schniederjans, the 28th-seeded player, will tee off for his second-round match today at 8:45 a.m. against fifth-seeded Sam Burns, a high school senior from Louisiana less than two weeks removed from winning the Junior PGA Championship. The winners will advance to a third-round match at 1:30 p.m.
The world’s No. 1-ranked amateur, Schniederjans hadn’t had a lot of success in past match-play events, with early exits in the 2012 U.S. Amateur and 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur and a place in the second round in the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur.
Beating Teesdale was a welcome relief for Schniederjans — mentally and physically — as he tries to justify his high ranking.
“The pressure continues,” Schniederjans said. “The pressure is the whole tournament, so it’s not like I’ll be happy if I lose in the round of 32. I won’t care that I won this (first-round match). I have to make it all the way, and I have to win this thing. The pressure is on the whole time.”
Schniederjans didn’t let the pressure get to him. He birdied his first hole and parred No. 2 to go 2-up on Teesdale, who bogeyed the second.
Another birdie on No. 7, a par save on 8 and a birdie at 9 left Schniederjans 4-up at the turn.
“I got off to a good start on the first two holes,” he said. “I went 2-up quick and set the tone. On 9, I stuck it and made birdie and turned at 4-up pretty quick. I played very solid. I made two terrible mistakes that cost me two holes, but other than that, it was really good.”
Despite the lead, Schniederjans didn’t let up.
“You want to relax a little bit, but I’ve seen everything happen,” he said. “Everything can happen. Nothing can surprise me. Four-up is not secured with nine to go. I wanted to finish the match as soon as possible and reserve energy for (today).”
Schniederjans birdied No. 10, but lost at 11 before birdieing 12 and 13 to put the match out of reach.
“Yeah, it was a short day,” he said. “Typically, the matches go until the 17th or 18th, and 16 at the earliest. I expect the matches to go longer. It worked out (Wednesday). It’s not like the first round you get the easy draw.
“Sometimes, you get the hard draw on the first day, and I’ve had that experience where I’ve had draws where you get the wrong guy on the wrong day and you’re out in one day if you don’t play well. So, it was nice to get a relaxed first-round victory, but I don’t expect the matches to end that early the rest of the week.”
While Schniederjans finished quickly, the fourth-seeded Beck found himself going the distance with No. 61 Rank, who advanced from a 17-man morning playoff to determine the final four entrants into match play.
Beck, who led after the first round of stroke play, was one of three top seeds eliminated after one round of the match play, including top-seeded Georgia golfer Lee McCoy.
Rank was 3-up through five before Beck rallied to square the match at the turn. Both golfers gutted it out through the next six holes before Beck took a 1-up lead with a par at No. 16.
Beck, however, failed to connect on a 6-foot par putt on 17, allowing Rank to square the match.
Rank went for the green in two on the par-5 18th, while Beck played it safe. His approach shot landed roughly 8 feet from the hole, leaving him with a long birdie opportunity.
Beck couldn’t get his birdie shot to drop, however, while Rank connected on his birdie try from 6 feet to take the match.
“I just took a little bit to settle in,” said Beck about his slow start. “I was hitting it fine. I just had a couple of off-line tee shots. After a while, I got the putter rolling and made a good bunker shot, so I came back. I had momentum for most of the back nine.
“I knew that, with this kind of course, and with my kind of game, grinding it out was how I needed to play it. Fortunately, I was able to do that on the back nine. I’m really pleased with everything.”
From taking the lead late to losing it, the match changed dramatically for Beck. Though he wishes things would have ended differently on 17, Beck was pleased with his play overall.
“I play guys like (Rank) all the time, where they’re going to go for par-5s in two,” he said. “I left myself in good position. I hit the put exactly how I wanted. I’m not upset at all it didn’t go in. (The match) could have gone either way.”