Raleigh’s Doc Redman, on the brink of losing the U.S. Amateur championship match Sunday, instead found a sensational way to win.
Redman, a sophomore at Clemson, trailed by two holes with two left in the scheduled 36-hole match-play final, but rallied to top Doug Ghim on the first extra hole at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
In an ending he called surreal, Redman, a former Leesville Road High golfer and 4A state champion, rolled in a long eagle putt at the par-5 17th hole – the 35th of the match – and birdied the par-4 18th from 8 feet to win both holes and square the match. Redman then won on the 37th hole, the par-4 10th, when Ghim, a senior at Texas, conceded another birdie putt to Redman.
Just like that Redman was the 2017 U.S. Amateur champion. He’ll be playing in the 2018 U.S. Open and the Masters, and on Sunday was named to the U.S. Walker Cup team – along with Ghim – for the 2017 matches next month in Los Angeles.
“It’s awesome. Obviously, very special,” Redman said in an interview. “It really is all about never giving up, believing it can happen. It was just an incredible week for me.”
Redman’s victory is part of an impressive run by Raleigh golfers in recent months. Grayson Murray won on the PGA Tour and Chesson Hadley on the Web.com Tour.
Redman also joins Raleigh’s Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open) and Paul Simson (2010, 2012 U.S. Senior Amateur) in winning a major U.S. Golf Association title. Scott Hoch of Raleigh was the runner-up to John Cook in the 1978 U.S. Amateur.
Redman had a 2-up lead early in the afternoon round, but when he bogeyed the 16th hole — the 34th of the match — he was 2-down to Ghim, named the Big 12 player of the year for the Longhorns in 2017. But Redman reached the green in two at the par-5 17th, holing a 60-foot putt for his eagle.
“I had eagle on my mind the whole way, from tee to the green,” Redman said. “I felt like I needed to make eagle to win the hole.”
He then put his 9-iron approach from 175 yards eight feet from the pin at the 18th to square the match.
It was on to the 37th hole and Redman was just short of the green at the 315-yard par-4 10th. Ghim pulled his drive into deep rough left of the fairway, put his second in a greenside bunker, then found the sand again with his third.
After playing out and missing a bogey putt, Ghim conceded the hole and the match to Redman, who had chipped 15 feet past the hole with his second shot.
“I never thought I had it won until he missed that bunker shot for par,” Redman said. “You never know what can happen. You never count a player out.”
Redman joined former Clemson golfer Chris Patton (1989) in winning the U.S. Amateur. Redman is coming off a freshman year in which he won twice and had the second-best stroke average in school history (70.77).
Redman often caddies at Old Chatham Golf Club during the summer but had Old Chatham member Dean Emerson on the bag at the Amateur. His father, John, flew out to L.A. on Saturday, and Redman also received a call from Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney before the championship match.
Redman made it out of a 13-player playoff for the final eight spots in match play and was seeded 62nd among the 64 players advancing.
He said he will be back at Clemson on Wednesday for the start of fall classes, then return for the Walker Cup matches next month at Los Angeles Country Club.