Saturday Notebook: Yip Hopes U.S. Amateur Performance Noticed By RCGA For Canadian World Amateur Team
By David Shefter, USGA
Chaska, Minn. – Ryan Yip hopes that his semifinal defeat Saturday at the 2006 U.S. Amateur is not his final amateur competition.
The 22-year-old from Calgary, Alberta, has already graduated from Kent State and plans to turn professional soon. But he would like to compete one more time as an amateur. That would be if the Royal Canadian Golf Association selects him to the three-man squad for the World Amateur Team Championship this October in South Africa.
One would think Yip is on the short list for consideration since he was a semifinalist at both the Canadian and U.S. Amateurs. Some feel three-time Canadian Amateur winner (including 2006) Richard Scott would be one of the locks. The other two choices aren’t so cut and dry.
"Definitely, I’m going to wait and see," said Yip, a 2-and-1 loser to John Kelly of St. Louis on Saturday at Hazeltine National Golf Club. "My chances aren’t that good. I realize where my position is in Canada. I’ve just got to hope for the best. I feel like I am playing well enough to be on the team."
For the record, the three-person USA squad for the World Amateur also will be selected soon. If Kelly wins Sunday, he likely would make that team. The U.S. Amateur winner, if an American citizen, generally is selected. Kimberly Kim, the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, was one of the three females picked for the USA Women’s World Amateur Team.
After hitting his approach shot right of the green on 16, Ryan Yip needed to call a Rules official over. The ball found the hazard, but it did not go into Lake Hazeltine. He could see his ball was going to move and it eventually moved back into a small hole.
Official Craig Ammerman came over and confirmed Yip’s assumption that it was not a penalty since he had not done anything to move the ball’s position.
Yip managed to barely move the ball forward, then lipped out his par chip. Fortunately for him, Kelly missed a short par putt that extended the match one more hole.
"Pretty high," said Yip of his disappointment. "I mean on a scale of one to 10, it’s eight or nine. It’s two weeks in a row that I’ve had great opportunities to move onto the finals, and I was up in both matches at one time. I felt like I was in control and I just couldn’t pull through."
Yip was referring to the Canadian Amateur, where he lost in the semifinals to Richard Scott, 1 up, a week prior to coming to Hazeltine."
John Kelly waited until Saturday’s semifinals to break out in his University of Missouri outfit, wearing a black shirt with gold shorts. The shirt was borrowed from teammate Peter Malnati, who also qualified for the Amateur, but did not make match play. Malnati and Kelly are rooming together this week with a host family.
"My coach (Mark Leroux) called and wanted me to wear some Missouri clothing just to kind of help things out," said Kelly, who will be a senior this fall. "I had a lady that I’m staying with (Darlene Salentine) wash one of my teammates’ outfits."
John Kelly’s name certainly wasn’t on the radar screen prior to the championship, and even during stroke-play qualifying. But recently the U.S. Amateur has seen a few unheralded players advance to the championship match.
Some of the surprises include Dillon Dougherty (2005), Robert Hamilton (2001) and a 17-year-old Korean Sung Yoon Kim (1999), who remains the youngest finalist in history.
Up to this week, Kelly’s biggest victory came in an American Junior Golf Association event just prior to starting school at Missouri four years ago. He also won the Missouri Intercollegiate last fall.
"I had never played in front of this many people, in front of TVs," said Kelly of the large gallery for the semifinals and the television audience on The Golf Channel and this weekend on NBC. "This is the kind of experience I’m going to need if I want to have success on the PGA Tour someday. So no doubt, this is going to be huge, huge learning experience for me."
David Shefter is a USGA staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.