Youngsters Coelho, Herrera team to win US Amateur Four-Ball

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. (AP) — Kiko Francisco Coelho and Leopoldo Herrera III won the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball championship Wednesday, birdieing the first extra hole to beat Brendan MacDougall and Sam Meek.

The 18-year-old Coelho and 19-year-old Herrera, both from Florida, earned entry into the U.S. Amateur with the victory at Chambers Bay in the sixth edition of the event. Herrera just completed his first season at UCF. Coelho grew up in Portugal before moving to Florida a few years ago and is bound for Arizona State in the fall.

Coelho and Herrera held a 2 up lead through 14 holes before MacDougall and Meek — Canadians who just completed their final seasons at the University of Nevada — rallied.

MacDougall rolled in a birdie putt on the signature par-3 15th and made another on the 17th to pull even in the match. MacDougall nearly won the title when his eagle pitch from the off the green on No. 18 hit the flagstick but didn’t fall. The birdie was matched when Herrera made a 14-footer and forced extra holes.

Playing the first hole for a second time in the match, both Herrera and Cuelho made birdie. Meek’s birdie attempt to extend the match missed left of the cup.

It was the first time the Amateur Four-Ball had been played since 2019 at Bandon Dunes after the 2020 version was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also served as the USGA’s return to Chambers Bay, the polarizing host of the 2015 U.S. Open won by Jordan Speith. The golf course was awarded the 2022 Women’s Amateur this week and there continue to be rumblings of a future U.S. Women’s Open coming to the course situated alongside Puget Sound.

The title capped a strong run through match play for Coelho and Herrera. The duo were the No. 8 seed after stroke play, and needed 21 holes to advance from the round of 32, but posted convincing victories to reach the semifinals.

In the semifinals early Wednesday, Coelho and Herrera beat the Notre Dame duo of Davis Chatfield and Palmer Jackson 3 and 2.

MacDougall and Meek advanced to the final after a lengthy morning of golf. Their quarterfinal match against Blake Hathcoat and Michael Slesinski on Tuesday night was suspended due to darkness with the teams on the 16th hole.

MacDougall and Meek finished off a 1-up victory in the quarterfinals and needed a late rally in the semifinals. MacDougall and Meek were two-down after 16 holes, but won both Nos. 17 and 18 with birdies, then birdied the first extra hole to knock out Loyola Chicago teammates Tyler Anderson and Devin Johnson.

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