Two former Wright State teammates united to make a run to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship this week.
Tyler Goecke, a Carroll High School graduate from Xenia, and Bryce Haney, a Wayne grad from Huber Heights, decided to play together last summer and earned a spot in the event by winning a qualifier at Oasis Golf Club in Loveland in August. They didn’t know quite what to expect at the Kiawah Island Club in South Carolina.
“We tried to detach from all the outcomes,” Haney said Thursday. “We knew we were a really good team, and we knew if we played well we would make a run and that’s what we did, but we didn’t really expect to go out there and do anything. We just knew our potential.”
Here’s how they advanced in the tournament:
• In stroke play on Saturday and Sunday, Goecke and Haney tied for 10th with a score of 64-66—130 (-2).
“The first two days of stroke play, the wind was down, so you had to make a lot of birdies,” Goecke said. “Bryce really got hot in the first round. We shot 7-under. He had five birdies. We kept it up in the second round. I kind of picked it up a little bit. We were going back and forth. It was truly a team effort, even in match play.”
• In the round of 32 on Monday, they beat John Eades and Matt Schall, two former University of Maryland golfers, 1 up.
• In the round of 16 on Tuesday, Goecke and Haney beat Peyton Blackard and Brayden Miller, two high school golfers from Indiana, 3 and 2.
• In the quarterfinals Tuesday, they beat two college golfers from Colorado, Maxwell Lange and Hunter Swanson, 1 up.
• In the semifinals Wednesday, Goecke and Haney ran into two University of California golfers, Aaron Du and Sampsonyunhe Zheng, and lost 2 and 1.
“In the last match, I chipped in on 11 to win the hole and we were 1 up,” Goecke said. “Then on 12 and 13, one of the other guys hit back-to-back shots within a foot. They won those two holes and turned the match around. Bryce made a big putt on 14 to tie the hole. Then I missed about a 15-footer on 15 to win the hole to get back to all square. A couple of shots here and there, that’s how it goes usually.”
The Cal golfers then picked up a 2-and-1 victory over Drew Kittleson and Drew Stoltz in the final Wednesday.
“It hurts a little less now that we know they won, but you can’t get upset,” Goecke said. “Those guys played awesome from the start. They were the No. 1 overall seed. They shot 16-under, a tournament record, in stroke play. They were just playing great golf. It’s tough to run into a team like that.”
Haney said they were bummed to lose in the semifinals but proud of the run they made.
“There were a lot of people pulling for us — even some people that live there on the island that were either from Ohio or had ties to Ohio,” he said. ““The golf courses were amazing. The USGA did an incredible job. This my first USGA event. They treated the players and their families like royalty. It was insane.”
Haney played for Wright State from 2017-21, tying for fifth at the Horizon League championships in his final season. Goecke won the Horizon League individual championship this spring as a senior and was named the league’s golfer of the year for the second straight year. He has one more season of eligibility and will play it at North Carolina.
Goecke and Haney have known each other since high school and shared a swing coach, John Wilkinson, earlier in their careers.
By finishing in the top four, Goecke and Haney qualified for the next two Four-Ball championships. The 2024 tournament will be played at The Philadelphia Cricket Club from May 25-29.
“It’s a great, great course,” Goecke said. “I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard great things and I see it in the top 100 in Golf Digest every year.”