PINEHURST, N.C. -- Austin Squires won two matches Thursday to advance to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals for the second straight year.
The former Cincinnati player beat Stefano Mazzoli in 19 holes in the round of 32, then topped John Pak 2 and 1 in the round of 16 at Pinehurst No. 2.
The two victories came a day after Squires — the world's 146th-ranked player who lost to eventual champion Viktor Hovland in last year's quarterfinals at Pebble Beach — claimed the last spot in the field of 64 on the fourth hole of a 27-for-3 playoff. He then knocked off qualifying medalist Brandon Wu 2 up in their match-play opener.
"I kind of feel like I'm playing with house money," Squires said. "I mean, I've really got nothing to lose. If I lose the next match, I go to pro golf. If I don't, I continue in amateur golf. So just kind of rolling with the punches and trying to play my best golf."
Only three of the world's top 25 amateurs reached the round of 16 — and none of them made it to the quarterfinals.
That leaves the No. 38 John Augenstein as the highest-ranked remaining player.
The 21-year-old player at Vanderbilt knocked out two top-10 players — beating No. 5 Akshay Bhatia 4 and 2 in the round of 32 before topping No. 9 Ricky Castillo 1 up.
"You have to beat the best to be the best," Augenstein said. "I don't know, I've always played really well in tough matches because I like to think that I'm going to beat them no matter what."
It also was a rough day for the Coody twins of Plano, Texas — Parker and Pierceson, who both were eliminated in the round of 16. Georgia's Spencer Ralston beat Parker Coody 6 and 5, and Sam Houston State's William Holcomb V defeated Pierceson Coody 2 and 1.
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