The Greystones star, 22, looked by far the more accomplished player on a windy afternoon at Olympia Fields’ North Course but he had to work hard to make the last 32 with a 2 up victory.
Having chiselled out a two-up lead with six holes to play, he was hauled back to all square after 15 holes and to hole a five footer at the 16th for a winning par and a three footer at the 17th to stay ahead of the resilient Oregon native.
Gary Hurley and Cormac Sharvin were left with nothing to do but contemplate a nervy wait for the Walker Cup team to be announced next Monday after they failed to make the matchplay stages of the US Amateur at Olympia Fields.
Both Maynooth Univ and West Waterford star Hurley and Ardglass’ talent Sharvin had to return at 7.30am yesterday to complete their weather-delayed second rounds.
Both had two holes on the South Course to try make the three over par qualifying mark good enough for a spot in what was eventually an 18-man play-off for the last 10 places in the matchplay draw. But neither made it, with Sharvin going closest after a fine birdie from 10 feet at the 17th left him needing another birdie at the par-five 18th to get to three over. He could only make par, however, after clipping a tree with his approach and seeing pitch and run third stop dead in soggy conditions as he posted a second successive two over 72 that left him, tantalisingly, one stoke outside the number on 144.
“I leaked my tee shot a little on the 18th and I was trying to squeeze something low under the trees and I just clipped a tree and came up short of the green,” said Sharvin.
“I tried to bump and run a pitching wedge but it pitched a few inches short of the green and the ground was so soft, it just killed it. Had I gone another yard I might have finished close to the hole.”
Hurley was within a shot of the projected cut with two holes to go but he bogeyed the 17th after a wild tee shot into the trees and failed to eagle the last, dropping another shot after a thinned greenside bunker shot, adding a 74 to his opening 72 for a 146 aggregate.
“I didn’t hit the ball well enough,” said Hurley, who missed out by three strokes on six over par 146. “I could have come out and finished par-birdie and made the cut on the mark and that would have been great. But there were too many bad shots and not enough great shots.”
Hurley hopes to hear five Irish names on the Walker Cup team to be named on Monday, adding: “It would mean a lot to make the Walker Cup team. It’s what you work for as an amateur in Great Britain and Ireland. If you make Walker Cup, it’s a big deal to your family and your golf club. But it’s also a nice thing to do before I turn pro.
“It would be great if I got that chance. It’s probably one of the biggest events in amateur golf as it’s covered live on TV and attracts with massive crowds. Hopefully we have a nice number (of Irishmen) on the team.”
Ireland had a record four players on the GB&I team in 1949 and 1951 — Joe Carr, Cecil Ewing, Sam (Max) McCready and Jimmy Bruen.