How Curtis Luck Won The 2016 US Amateur Semifinals Over Nick Carlson

Curtis Luck waves after winning the match on the 21st hole during semifinal round of match play at the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)
Curtis Luck waves after winning the match on the 21st hole during semifinal round of match play at the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

 

In an epic match play round at the 2016 US Amateur, Curtis Luck of Australia defeated University of Michigan Golfer Nick Carlson in 21 holes.  Luck moves on to the finals against Brad Dalke of Oklahoma.

 

 

Nick Carlson and Curtis Luck on the first green.
Nick Carlson and Curtis Luck on the first green.

Hole 1: Par 4, 452 Yards

 

Carlson with the honors. He finds the left bunker, 125 out. Luck is in the fairway, 160 to the green.

The flag is cut in the center. Luck’s approach leaves him with a 30 foot downhill putt. Carlson is behind the flag. some fifteen feet.

Luck’s putt misses long. Carlson just misses, and the putt is conceded. Luck drains his.

All Square Through 1

 

Nick Carlson walks up to the second green.
Nick Carlson walks up to the second green.

 

Hole 2: Par 5, 524 Yards

Carlson’s tee shot is in the center of the fairway, 180 to the green. Luck is 220 to the green in the right rough.

Luck’s shot is just off the right side under a tree. His low pitch slides by the hole 15 – 18 feet.

Carlson’s long putt just misses and is conceded. Luck’s mid range putt misses.

Carlson 1 Up Through 2

 

Hole 3: Par 3, 192 Yards

Carlson is on the green with his tee shot. He hits the upslope and it rolls away.

Luck is right of the green. The hole is cut back left. Luck makes a big putting stroke and the ball rolls away left.

Carlson’s putt is close. Luck concedes the putt. He then lips out on his putt.

Carlson 2 Up Through 3

 

Nick Carlson on the fourth fairway.
Nick Carlson on the fourth fairway.

Hole 4: Par 4, 441 Yards

Carlson’s tee shot is 140 to the green. Luck is 162. Both are in the fairway.

The second for Carlson hits the rear slope of the green and the ball funnels back. Luck’s lands six feet right.

Luck drains his putt. Carlson makes his.

Carlson 2 Up Through 4

 

Hole 5: Par 4, 489 Yards

Carlson is in the left rough behind a tree, 188 to the green. Luck is in a bunker right, 230 out.

Luck’s second gets to the left rough greenside. Carlson’s shot hits a tree branch and lands 5o yards short of the green.  Hit pitch from there runs back to the front of the green.

A chip from Luck is close. Carlson concedes, then misses his putt left.

Carlson 1 Up Through 5

 

Curtis Luck evaluates a putt on the sixth hole.
Curtis Luck evaluates a putt on the sixth hole.

 

Hole 6: Par 4, 396 Yards

Luck’s tee shot is 117 to the green in the rough under a big tree. Carlson has laid up to 160.

The second for luck lands on the green front. The flag is back on the higher tier.

Carlson’s second finds a bunker. He is short sided.

Luck is away. His long putt misses.

The bunker shot from Carlson hits the flag and stops dead. The putt is conceded. Luck then putts in.

Carlson 1 Up Through 6

 

Approaching the eighth green.
Approaching the seventh green.

 

 

Hole 7: Par 4, 439 Yards

The pin is back left. Luck hits his ball toward the second fairway, trying to get a better angle. The ball hits a tree, though, and falls short. Carlson hits fairway some 180 from the center of green.

The second from Luck finds the bunker right of the green. Carlson’ s is on the front of the green.

Luck’s bunker shot rolls to three feet. Carlson’s putt is short. He is still away, but his second putt is in for a four. Luck then putts in.

Carlson 1 Up Through 7

 

Huge crowds heading up the eighth fairway.
Huge crowds heading up the eighth fairway.

 

Hole 8: Par 4, 484 Yards

Luck’s tee shot finds the bunker right, 190 to the green. Carlson is in the fairway, 170 out.

From the bunker, Luck is wide right of the green, just short of a greenside bunker. Carlson hits the green. Luck’s high pitch runs away from the hole; he’s still away. His putt runs long. His next misses.

Carlson 2 Up Through 8

 

A view of the ninth green as Carlson and Luck play.
A view of the ninth green as Carlson and Luck play. The USGA says that 5, 800 were following the match.

 

 

Hole 9: Par 3, 247 yards

Carlson sticks his shot close to the flag. Luck is wide left. Luck’s first putt misses wide. He picks up the ball.

A rules official is summoned. Carlson apparently did not concede the putt. After some conversation, Carlson agrees to give Luck the putt.

Carlson misses his putt and is in for a three.

Carlson later explained the hole:

So Curtis hit his putt. He hit a danged good putt, and it rolled past the hole, and I said good putt to him, and he went and scooped up his ball. I never said it was good. My intent was — that’s what we talked about with the rules official. I’m not going to make him putt a four-inch putt. Luckily with the way the match play rules were, I was able to give him that putt and it wouldn’t cost him the hole. He would do the same for me, I’m sure. I’m not the kind of guy that will say, screw you type deal. He deserved to have that putt, so I gave it to him.

Carlson 2 Up Through 9

 

Nick Carlson (right) evaluates a shot on the tenth hole.
Nick Carlson (right) evaluates a shot on the tenth hole.

Hole 10: Par 4, 466 Yards

Carlson is in the fairway, near the right side bunker, some 150 yards out. Luck hits a tree right, and his ball settles down in the right rough.

Luck is away. He catches the front right of the green. Carlson’s second carries to the back left fringe. The hole is cut on the back left side.

A chip takes Luck to ten feet. Carlson is up against the cut. He putts with the edge of an iron. It is too much. Luck, away, makes a mid-length putt. Carlson’s lips out. He has a tap in.

Carlson 1 Up Through 10

 

Hole 11: Par 4, 443 Yards

Luck is 160 to the green, Carlson a little closer. Luck hits behind the hole and the ball spins back for a short putt. Carlson also hits the back slope and spins it back. Luck makes his putt. Carlson does not.

All Square Through 11

 

Hole 12: Par 5, 600 Yards

Luck is on the right side fairway. Carlson in the right rough. Both are about 280 from the green.

Carlson hits an iron back to the fairway left. He is now about 150 out. Luck’s second goes to the left of the green in rough under a tree.

The third for Carlson leaves him with a mid length downhill putt.

A lob for Luck skips past the hole to the right fringe. Carlson’s putt tails away right at the end. The next is conceded. Luck’s putt is weak and short. His next is in.

All Square Through 12

 

Carlson and Luck on the thirteenth green.
Carlson and Luck on the thirteenth green.

 

Hole 13: Par 3, 184

Luck’s ball sticks close to the bin. Carlson’s lands behind the flag, rolls down a little. For what it’s worth, Carlson hit a nine iron here.

Carlson is away and sinks the putt. Luck just misses.

Carlson 1 Up Through 13

 

Curtis Luck evaluates a shot on the fourteenth
Curtis Luck evaluates a shot on the fourteenth

 

Hole 14: Par 4, 488 Yards

Carlson is some 200 out. Luck further back, in the right rough.

The second for Luck is on the green, 3o feet away. Carlson’s lands five yards off the green, short sided.

A chip from Carlson is just short. Luck’s putt lips out. The par is conceded.

Carlson lips out left.

All Square Through 14

 

Hole 15: par 4, 380 Yards

Luck is 100 out, just over the center-of-fairway bunkers. Carlson is 50 away.

Luck hits the back of the green, spins forward past the hole. Carlson is just past the hole, The ball spins back for a short putt.

Luck slides by. He concedes the hole.

Carlson 1 Up Through 15.

 

Curtis Luck aims at the sixteenth green.
Curtis Luck aims at the sixteenth green.

 

Hole 16: Par 4, 402 Yards

Carlson is short of the pond on the right side of the fairway. He has a 150 yard shot over the water. Luck has 135 from the fairway left.

The second from Carlson puts the ball on the upper tier back near the rear bunker. Luck is left.

Carlson’s putt just past is conceded. Luck just misses.

Carlson Up 1 Through 16

 

Nick Carlson blasts out of a bunker on the 17th hole during semifinal round of match play at the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)
Nick Carlson blasts out of a bunker on the 17th hole during semifinal round of match play at the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

 

Hole 17: Par 3, 219 Yards

Luck is right of the greenside bunker. Carlson is in it.

Carlson hits the ball close, it catches the edge and rolls to six feet. Luck from the rough rolls 60 feet away. Two putts later, both are in for bogeys.

Carlson 1 Up Through 17

 

Nick Carlson attempts to play his second shot on the 18th hole during semifinal round of match play at the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)
Nick Carlson attempts to play his second shot on the 18th hole during semifinal round of match play at the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

 

Hole 18: Par 4, 473 Yards

Luck is on a bunker edge on the left side of the fairway.  Carlson is under a pine on the right.

After considering several options, Carlson hits a club hackwards to safety 10 feet away. He then drills the ball right of the green.

Luck hits out of the bunker to the right fringe, ten feet away.

Carlson’s lob kicks left to the front edge of the green. He misses the putt.

The hole is conceded.

Afterwards, Carlson explained:

“I stood on 18 tee telling my caddie we’re going to aim at that blue spruce right there, then we’re going to try to cut off of it, and it went dead straight. I hit the blue spruce. Can’t get too upset with that. Unfortunately it was right under it, and I had to chip left-handed and didn’t hit it far enough. But that wasn’t the issue. I drew a good lie, and the club caught a little of the rough, and it went right, unfortunately. Curtis had to make 5 basically”

 

Luck added:

Yeah, unfortunately for Nick, I think he just hit his drive a bit too good, a bit of adrenaline going down the 18th, and I think just got a bad break under that pine down there. Straight off the tee, I was fortunate that it wasn’t looking too bright for me because I was on the tongue of the bunker but fortunately I was a stance, so I was able to knock it up around the green where Nick kind of had to chip out sideways.

All Square Through 18

 

Playoff Begins On Hole 10

 

Hole 10 (19): Par 4, 466 Yards

Luck is left of the fairway and follows with a shot to the left of the green. Carlson right behind a bunker on the right. His second sends him to the back right of the green.

Luck’s chip slides past. Carlson’s putt is close, and conceded. Luck makes his putt

All Square Through 19

 

Hole 11 (20): Par 4, 443 Yards

Luck’s tee shot lands in a bunker on the right side of the fairway. Carlson is on a drain cover.

Luck is away, and hits the ball to the right side of the green. It rolls back to the hole. Carlson follows with a nearly identical shot.

Both make their birdie putts.

Luck talked about the hole afterwards:

I saw he (Carlson) obviously hit it real close in there for his second from the fairway, and it really didn’t give me any option other than to go for it and hit it close myself, so I was kind of lucky I had a perfect distance and a perfect lie in the trap. Managed to pick it cleanly and use the backstop, and then obviously you’re staring down a three- or four-footer that you know if it doesn’t go in, it’s loss of match realistically. That kind of probably worked in my favor at the end of the day because I was able to hit it a bit firmer than I would have in the stroke play or early in the match.

All Square Through 20

 

Hole 12 (21): Par 5, 600 Yards

 

Luck and Carlson are both in the fairway about 280 out.

The second from Luck is to the front left fringe. Carlson’s lands in the bunker to the right. His bunker shot is short.

Luck’s shot goes up and over the hump, close. Conceded. Carlson’s attempt at birdie is a near miss.

Luck Wins After 21.

Curtis Luck, right, hugs Nick Carlson, left, after their match ended ont he 21st hole during semifinal round of match play at the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)
Curtis Luck, right, hugs Nick Carlson, left, after their match ended ont he 21st hole during semifinal round of match play at the 2016 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)
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