Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Oliva Pinto moves on to round of 16 at U.S. Amateur
A Razorback head cover sits in a golf bag at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers during practice rounds for the Walmart NWA Arkansas Championship.
Arkansas junior Segundo Oliva Pinto rolled in a clutch birdie on No. 17 on Thursday to topple No. 8 seed McClure Meissner and advance to the round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Championship in Bandon, Ore.
Oliva Pinto’s three-shot lead had dwindled to one before he put the match away on the 17th for a 2 & 1 victory over Meissner, an SMU senior and two-time All-American at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Oliva Pinto, of Argentina, who transferred to Arkansas this summer from North Carolina-Wilmington, will play again Thursday evening against Georgia Tech senior Tyler Strafaci.
Parts of the evening round will be shown on the Peacock and the Golf Channel between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
As he did in the round of 64, Oliva Pinto built a 3-up lead on the front nine. His eagle topped Meissner’s birdie on No. 3, then Oliva Pinto won No. 6 with a par 3 and No. 9 with a birdie to complete his 32 going out.
Meissner, the 2020 Southern Amateur champion, got a hole back with a birdie on the 10th. Oliva Pinto maintained his 2-up lead until Meissner birdied the 16th.
Arkansas junior Julian Perico could not match a late birdie binge from Strafaci and fell 2 & 1 on Thursday at the event.
Perico, a strong match player, led by two holes after the 10th before Strafaci posted three birdies and an eagle over the next seven holes to take command at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the Oregon coast.
Perico, of Peru, got up quickly on Strafaci, who posted a double bogey on No. 1, but won the 2nd hole due to Perico’s bogey.
Perico birdied the par-3 6th hole then took a 2-up lead with a birdie on No. 10.
Strafaci rebounded to win three consecutive holes with a birdie-par-eagle stretch on Nos. 11-13. Perico forged a tie on the 15th with a par opposite Strafaci’s bogey.
But Strafaci, a Davie, Fla., native, was not to be denied. He birdied the par-4 16th hole to take the lead, then closed out the match with his birdie on the 17th, his fifth of the day.
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