Koppenberg among top 32 at U.S. Amateur following match play win
Aug. 20, 2008
PINEHURST, N.C. - Western Washington University golfer Jake Koppenberg defeated Sam Smith from Turlock, Calif., 2 and 1, in the opening round of match play Wednesday at the 2008 U.S. Men's Amateur. The tournament continues through Sunday at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club.
Koppenberg, a senior from Everett, is now among 32 remaining players. He meets Rickie Fowler, the No.2 ranked amateur in the world, Thursday morning.
Koppenberg reached match play by tying for 20th in the stroke play portion of the tournament Monday and Tuesday, shooting a 1-over par 141 for the 36 holes. That pared the 315-man field to 64.
There will be two rounds Thursday with just eight players left at the end of the day. The quarterfinals are Friday, semifinals Saturday and the 36-hole final Sunday.
U.S. Amateur match play is being televised nationally on the Golf Channel.
Fowler, a sophomore at Oklahoma State, played in the U.S. Open this summer. He was a first-team NCAA Division I All-American and received the Phil Mickelson Award recognizing the most outstanding freshman in Division I golf.
Koppenberg got to Pinehurst by placing second in a sectional qualifier held at Chamber's Bay Golf Club near Tacoma. There he shot a 36-hole total of 2-under 142.
The U.S. Amateur is the oldest United States Golf Association championship, first being played in 1895. Since its inception, the world's greatest golfers have competed in this American golf tradition. Among its many champions are the legends of the game itself - from Walter Travis to Francis Ouimet, Bobby Jones to Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods.
The champion receives a gold medal, a replica of the Havemeyer Trophy, and various exemptions for other USGA championships, as well as the British Open and an invitation to compete in the next Masters Championship.
Over the years Pinehurst has been synonymous with hosting prestigious events including the 1994 U.S. Senior Open and both the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens.
Last spring, Koppenberg was named to the Golf Coaches Association of America/NCAA II All-America second team. He had a school-record 71.3 scoring average, tying for 28th place at nationals and finishing in a tie for second at the West Regional.
A transfer from NCAA I Idaho, Koppenberg shot 11 rounds in the 60s, including a school-record 10-under 62 in the final round at the Grand Canyon Invitational to take medalist honors. He placed among the top 10 in eight tournaments.
Koppenberg was named the 2008 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.
Western, which ranked No.9 in the final GCAA Top 25 Poll, tied for eighth at nationals, placed second at the West Regional and won the GNAC crown.
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