Millard's impressive run ends at U.S. Amateur
Sophomore comes up one hole short in match play round of 64August 20, 2008 · MT Athletic Communications
PINEHURST, N.C. - Middle Tennessee sophomore Jason Millard's impressive run at the U.S. Amateur ended in heartbreaking fashion when Oklahoma State signee Morgan Hoffman secured a 1-up win in the match play round of 64 at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club Wednesday.
Millard took a 2-up lead through 14 holes but Hoffman squared the match on 16 and chipped in for a birdie on the par-3 17 at Pinehurst No. 2 to take the lead and hold on to the win.
"I played well and it was a great experience but I wasn't good enough today," Millard said after the disappointing setback. "I had a bunch of confidence after the first two days so this kind of hurts a little bit. I will just have to practice more and better. Playing the U.S. Am was a great experience and I know that I can be one of the top amateurs in the country. I just have to work harder."
Millard became only the second Blue Raider golfer ever to make the cut at the U.S. Amateur and advance into the 64-player field match play portion of the event and it appeared it was going to make even more history when he went 2-up after a par on No. 14.
Millard, who earned honorable mention All-American honors as a freshman, lost the 15th hole when Hoffman secured a par. One hole later the match was all square.
"We both barely missed the green on the par-3 (15th) and my shot went off the green by about 10 yards," Millard said. "I wasn't able to get up and down and he did. (Hoffman) was able to chip in for a birdie on 17 to go back up. I had a great chance and that's what hurts."
The match was all squared through four holes before Hoffman went 1-up on the par-4 No. 5 but Millard got it back to even on No. 6. After Hoffman went 2-up on the next two holes Millard battled back and eventually evened the match on No. 11. The Murfreesboro native won holes 13 and 14 to go 2-up before the tough finish.
"I know Jason is hurting right now because he's such a competitor and he knows he had a great opportunity but he had a great run on one of the nation's toughest courses and this is only going to help him," Middle Tennessee coach Whit Turnbow said. "He proved he's one of the best in the amateurs in the country the last three days and he definitely belongs on that stage. I really believe the sky is the limit for him."
Middle Tennessee will open the fall season at the Aldila Intercollegiate at Council Fire Golf Club in Chattanooga, Sept. 8. The event is co-hosted by Middle Tennessee and Chattanooga.
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