Ultimately, he gave up the leads by the end of regulation in both instances. It didn’t hurt Schniederjans in the round of 32, but it did in the round of 16, eliminating the former Harrison High School standout, current Georgia Tech star and top-ranked amateur from the competition.
Schniederjans topped Louisiana high-schooler Sam Burns in 20 holes in the morning session, but he lost 1-up to South Korea’s Gunn Yang in the afternoon.
“I’m so disappointed,” Schniederjans said after his match with Yang. “I’m extremely disappointed, because it would have been amazing here on the weekend if I was still here, and that’s not going to happen now.
“I just misread putts coming in. I lipped out probably 10 times this round. It was brutal. I couldn’t buy a single ball to drop on those greens, and (Yang) made them. I felt lucky (Thursday) morning to get through that, but definitely was not lucky (Thursday) afternoon.”
As he did in his two previous matches, Schniederjans got off to a good start against Yang and was 2-up through four holes, but the San Diego State sophomore rallied to square the match through seven and took a two-hole lead at the turn. Schniederjans quickly squared the match with a par on No. 11 and birdie on 12 after Yang’s errant tee shots, and he took the lead with a par putt on 15.
But Schniederjans was unable to make critical birdie putts at 16 and 17, which Yang delivered on, and both players parred 18, giving Yang the one-hole win.
“It’s the final 16 of the amateur. That’s what you had to do,” Schniederjans said. “He birdied the last three holes to win 1-up. He was out of his mind those last three holes. It was some amazing golf. He’s going to be good if he keeps doing that. It really was a great match. I just didn’t make the 10-footers. I played pretty good golf, but I missed the critical putts.
“I feel very disappointed, really disappointed. I think I didn’t deserve it because I didn’t get it done. I felt like I should have gotten it done and I didn’t.”
Yang, who also needed the full 18 holes to beat morning opponent Paul Howard, advanced to face New York teenager Cameron Young in today’s quarterfinal.
“Obviously, Ollie is No. 1 in the world, and his game is just solid,” said Yang, playing his first major amateur tournament. “I mean, the first four holes, he knocked it down like, I don’t know, 6 feet, 7 feet, and he made all the putts. I’m like, wow, this is how the No. 1 player the amateur golf plays.”
Schniederjans did get it done in his first match with Burns.
Schniederjans was 3-up through 14, but he ultimately had to win on the second playoff hole after Burns rallied for wins on Nos. 15 and 17, and then won 18 with a bogey.
Schniederjans admitted he rushed through those final few holes of regulation.
“I played extremely well on the front nine, and I was holding on playing decently on the back as well,” he said. “I had a nice 3-up lead with four to go and tried to get too cute with a bunker shot on 15, and gave (Burns) the hole with a bogey. He made a great birdie to keep it going on 17, and I was 1-up on 18 and let him win the hole with a bogey.”
Schniederjans’ tee shot from the first playoff hole — (the par-4 first — landed in the left rough. His second shot clipped a leaf, but rolled up the fairway, only 10 feet from the pin, but in the second fringe surrounding the green. Burns, meanwhile, reached the green on his second shot, but two-putted for par as the pair halved the hole.
The drama continued on the par-4 second hole, where Schniederjans found the fairway off the tee and Burns’ tee shot landed in the left side pine straw, with trees obstructing his view of the green.
Burns’ second shot found the fairway rough and his third left him with a long par putt. Meanwhile, Schniederjans’ second shot found the fringe along the green. His putt came up a little short of the hole and Burns conceded after missing his par putt, giving Schniederjans the victory.
“I’m just so thankful I got through that round,” Schniederjans said. “He had a putt to win on hole 1. That would have been really, really hard for me to handle.”
Like Schniederjans when he was at Harrison, Burns is a highly regarded high school golfer. Paired together, Schniederjans saw a lot of himself in the LSU commitment.
“He was a really cool kid,” Schniederjans said. “Very laid-back and amazing player with a great demeanor. He was very impressive. It was fun to play against him. He’s kind of like me when I was that age. I felt like I was playing against myself four years ago.”