Date: July 18, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Gritty Greer left to go it alone

Josh Greer is the last man standing after a flattening day for Australia at the US Boys' Amateur in Ohio.

West Australian Greer, renowned as a gritty match player, took out No.18 seed August Meekhof 2&1 after a tough battle in the round of 64.

The Joondalup member will next face another American, George Duangmanee, in tomorrow's round of 32 at famous Inverness Club in Toledo.

But it wasn't such great news for Greer's mates, with No.10 seed Karl Vilips, No.14 Elvis Smylie and No.46 Connor McKinney all bowing out.

Vilips, who had high hopes coming in as the No.2-ranked player on the AJGA rankings, simply couldn't find enough birdies against Japan's Yuki Moriyama.

The Florida-based West Australian made bogeys on the second and third holes to cede momentum and never regained it in losing 4&2.

Smylie, the reigning Australian Junior champion, also found himself 2-down early, but hit back to be square through five.

But the young Queenslander didn't win another hole and fell 3&2 to Alambama's Thomas Ponder.

McKinney was left to rue some missed opportunities against Austin Greaser, playing in his home state.

The Perth-based Scotsman was 3-up and cruising through eight holes, but lost three of the next five to fall back to square.

McKinney, also a member at Joondalup, was made to pay when Greaser played the two tough closing holes one under to win 2-up.

So the Aussie challege falls to Greer, the lithe West Australian state representative who readily admitted he was lucky to qualify for match play after some erratic play on days one and two.

"I was scoring well because I putted and chipped really well, but I hit the ball horribly and really, I'm lucky to still be going," said Greer, another product of coach Ritchie Smith, the swing guru of several West Australia stars including Minjee Lee and major champion Hannah Green.

"I definitely got better today after I phoned Ritchie and he gave me some stuff to work on with my (swing) take-away.

"I had a bad two-way miss going … but after we chatted and I went back to the range, I figured out how to get rid of the right-side miss and today I only made the occasional miss to the left, and they weren't bad, so I could play with that.

"It's not my `A game' yet, but hopefully it's not too far away.

"To be honest, I'm really proud of myself that I managed to score the way I was playing, so I think anything from here on is pretty much a bonus."

Greer, the No.47 seed, twice went 1-down on the front nine, but improved as his match progressed and when he birdied the par-four 16th, took his first lead.

A par on the tough 17th proved enough for a 2&1 victory that came on what he described as a "brutal" course.

"The rough is so tough. If I get in it, I'm just not strong enough to get anything up to the green, so I just have to take a 54-degree wedge and put it back in play," he said.

"But today, after working on my hybrids with Ritchie, I missed a lot of cross bunkers and it was perfect, so that made it much easier."