Vandalia’s Greaser reaches U.S. Amateur final

Vandalia native Austin Greaser is one win away from adding his name to an elite list in golf.

The 20-year-old on Saturday advanced to the final of the 121st U.S. Amateur at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.

Greaser, who plays collegiately at North Carolina, beat Travis Vick of the University of Texas 2 and 1 in the semifinals. Greaser will face Michigan State’s James Piot in Sunday’s 36-hole final.

“A lot of emotions, it’s very surreal right now,” Greaser told NBC’s Jim Mackay after the match. “... It’s probably the most nerves I’ve ever felt. They never went away.”

After a back-and-forth front nine Saturday, Greaser turned it on to start the final nine holes. One down through 11, he won four straight holes to take control. He drove the par-4, 13th and two-putted for birdie to go 3-up.

“Best drive I hit all week,” Greaser told the Associated Press.

Vick won the 15th and 16th holes to trim Greaser’s lead to 1-up. But Greaser won the 17th to clinch the win.

Greaser was surrounded by family and friends after the win, including twin brother Byron, who joined him for the post-match interview.

“I can’t put it into words,” Austin told Mackay “There’s so many people here supporting me. I love them all. I’m just really glad I can share this with a lot of family and friends.”

As a finalist, Greaser earned exemptions into next year’s Masters and U.S. Open. Sunday’s winner gets a spot in the 150th British Open next summer at St. Andrews.

Greaser won the 2020 Ohio Amateur by eight shots with an 18-under-par total. He reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2019. Earlier this summer the UNC junior advanced to the semifinals of the Western Amateur.

In two seasons with the Tarheels, Greaser has seven top-10 finishes and five top-five finishes. His stroke average of 71.67 is on pace to the second lowest in UNC history.

At Butler, Greaser was a two-time all-conference player in the Greater Western Ohio Conference and the player of the year.

The final will be broadcast on Golf Channel from 3-4 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. on NBC.

Past U.S. Amateur winners include Francis Ouimet, Chick Evans, Bobby Johnson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Deane Beman, Lanny Wadklins, Craig Stadler, Mark O’Meara, Hal Sutton, Jay Sigel, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Bryson DeChambeau.

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