He didn’t come away with the championship trophy, but John Augenstein still proved he’s one of the top amateur golfers in the world after finishing runner-up in the U.S. Amateur Championship. He also earned exemptions to the Masters Tournament and the U.S. Open in 2020, and was chosen for the 2019 U.S. Walker Cup team.
Though he led for 29 holes and held a 4-up advantage twice, Augenstein lost 2 and 1 to Andy Ogletree on Sunday in the 36-hole final of the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club.
The turning point came on hole No. 29, when Ogletree started the push that eventually led to his victory. With his par, Ogletree cut Augenstein’s lead to 1-up.
Ogletree then evened the match on No. 31 when his shot into the green stopped just a few feet from the cup to set up a birdie. On the next hole, the rising senior at Georgia Tech took his first lead of the day with a par.
On the par-3 No. 35, both players pushed their birdie putts high and long. Augenstein, a rising senior at Vanderbilt, missed his next two putts before conceding a par that sealed the win for Ogletree.
By making it to the finals, though, the 21-year-old former Owensboro Catholic High School star earned a spot in the Masters and U.S. Open next year.
Within minutes of the completion of the U.S. Amateur, Augenstein was named to the U.S. Walker Cup team. The Walker Cup Match will feature 10 leading amateurs from the U.S. playing against a 10-man team from Great Britain and Ireland.
Augenstein — ranked No. 38 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings entering the tournament — also knocked off the No. 5 and No. 9 ranked players in a pair of matches Friday that sent him into Saturday’s semifinal round.
Augenstein, a rising senior at Vanderbilt, only trailed for a total of five holes through six rounds of match play — one hole in the semifinals plus the final four of the championship match.
The 36-hole final match took place over two courses at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club — the first 18 holes on Course No. 4 and the second 18 on Course No. 2.
Augenstein used a blistering start in the morning round, jumping out to a 4-up lead through five holes starting with a par on No. 2. After a pair of conceded birdies on the next two holes, Augenstein sunk a lengthy, curving putt to take early control.
Ogletree won No. 8 and Augenstein No. 11 — both with long birdie putts — before two consecutive winnings pars got Ogletree within two. The players had similar looks from the green on No. 16, but a miss by Ogletree pushed Augenstein’s lead to 3-up.
An eagle putt for a chance at 4-up on No. 17 stopped a couple of rolls short from falling in the cup for Augenstein. Ogletree then dropped in a winning putt from the fringe on No. 18 to get back within two at the end of the morning round.
In the afternoon round, Ogletree cut his deficit in half on the first hole with an easy birdie. Augenstein then won No. 22 and Ogletree won No. 25 — both with pars — and the lead was 1-up heading into the final nine holes.
After both men missed the fairway on No. 28, Augenstein’s shot into the green set up a birdie to go 2-up, though Ogletree started his run at the championship with his par on the next hole.