Date: August 17, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Perry finally catches a break

He's had a brilliant world tour, but even Dylan Perry was due an ounce of luck.

And it came today at a critical time in the US Amateur Championship in Los Angeles.

The impressive Perry was one of three Australians to reach the round of 32 at famous Riviera Country Club, alongside fellow New South Welshman Travis Smyth and Queenslander Shae Wools-Cobb.

Only Victorian Blake Collyer bowed out, unable to repeat his qualifying heroics in going down 6&5 to American Collin Morikawa who became Perry's next opponent after a stunning finale by the 22-year-old from the Hunter Valley.

Perry had been 3-up and cruising through 11 holes before "losing my swing" a little down the stretch.

A bogey on the 18th hole allowed Alex Smalley, who played in the US Open last year, to force overtime and it would only have been natural for Perry to allow thoughts of previous late-hole dramas to creep in.

Perry had a putt to win the Interstate Series for NSW hook out, then ceded a late lead in The Amateur final at Royal St George's in June before eventually falling in 38 holes.

But not today, as lessons learnt by this steely competitor shone through at just the right moment.

Heading back down the long par-four first hole, Perry found himself in trouble when Smalley hit his approach to 3.5m above the hole and his own 8-iron approach came up 5m shy of the green.

"I obviously couldn't afford to be short, so gave it a good whack and it hit the hole pretty hard, but it bobbed up for a second and went straight down, so it was great," Perry said.

"You don't think of those other things at the time, but yeah, I've had a couple get away, so this was nice."

Perry, who's had a great two months on the road in Britain and the United States, also featuring solid results in the European Amateur and Western Amateur events, said those setbacks had been great teachers.

"It would have been nice to win those, for sure. But I've learnt a lot from them and not to get too stressed by what happens once it's gone," he said.

"It's golf. You can't win them all and I definitely feel a lot more comfortable at this level now.

"If I keep giving myself these chances, hopefully I can knock one over down the line."

Perry said an impromptu post-round lesson with NSW national coach Dean Kinney would stand him in good stead tomorrow as the knockout phase continues.

"I've been away from home for a while now, so it was good to have Dean have a quick peek on the range afterwards at what I'm doing and make some posture adjustments," Perry said.

"It just gives me something to work on and … a bit of confidence to know I'm doing the right thing still."

Shellharbour's Travis Smyth took less time to dispatch William Gordon 3&1, but also had to fend off a late rally by his American opponent after twice reaching 3-up early before standing on the 16th tee just 1-up.

"I hit great clutch shots when I needed to most to keep in front," said Smyth, who sealed victory with an impressive birdie on the long 17th.

"I played pretty solid and I'm really happy with my putting at the moment."

Next up for Smyth is Brayden Thornberry of Mississippi, while the Sunshine Coast's Wools-Cobb will take on Garrett Barber.

Wools-Cobb, who only reached the field last week when his number came up as an alternate, jumped to the front with a par up the first against Sam Burns and was never headed.

The Queenslander was twice 4-up before staving off another late American charge to win 2&1 with a birdie up the 17th.