BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Charleston Southern senior Austin James fell to Collin Morikawa, 2-and-1, in a thrilling back-and-forth Round of 64 Match at the United States Amateur on Wednesday. Morikawa won the 16th and 17th holes to best James and advance to the second round of match play at Oakland Hills Country Club's South Course.
James won three matches a year ago to reach the quarterfinal round and got off to a hot start in his match against 14th seeded Morikawa, a sophomore at Cal. James birdied the par-4 1st hole to get out to a 1-up lead and tacked on another birdie at the second to maintain his advantage. Morikawa moved back in front of the Bath, Ontario, native with victories at holes four and five, starting an exciting afternoon.
James evened the match with a par at the difficult par-4 7th to begin a stretch of five straight holes where the players alternated wins. James highlighted that juncture with birdies at the par-3 9th and par-4 11th. He forced another tie with a par at the long 14th hole. Both players parred the 15th before a weather delay halted the match for about two hours.
Morikawa seized the upper hand with a par at the 16th and posted another at the treacherous 243-yard par-3 17th, while James bogeyed both holes, ending the match.
James is the first player in CSU history to reach the match play portion of the U.S. Amateur in two consecutive years. He used last year's performance as a springboard to a decorated junior year that culminated in Big South Player of the Year honors, an individual title at the conference championship and semifinalist status for the Jack Nicklaus Award.
James and the Bucs begin their 2016 fall season Sept. 12-13 at The Invitational at the Ocean Course, hosted by College of Charleston.