LOS ANGELES (AP) — Australia’s Travis Smyth knocked off No. 3-ranked Braden Thornberry in the morning and advanced to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals in the afternoon with a 2-and-1 victory over No. 12 Will Zalatoris on Thursday.
Smyth is on an impressive run at Riviera Country Club with a chance to follow the path set by Curtis Luck. Smyth’s good friend and fellow long-haired Australian won the Amateur last year at Oakland Hills.
Smyth excelled in a 3-and-2 victory over NCAA champion Thornberry, who beat world No. 1 Joaquin Niemann on Wednesday. Smyth finished off Zalatoris with a birdie on the 17th aided by a remarkable chip from the bunker.
Smyth is a former rugby player who only picked up golf at 12 years old while recovering from an injury.
He handled the grind of a two-round day with steady effort and an afternoon mental reset on the 13th, where he saved par after his 4-up lead had dwindled to 2-up.
“This format, it’s very tough,” Smyth said. “You want to get yourself into match play and then just play as best you can. … I just concentrate on my next shot. The more I think about how…