THE FLATS – Georgia Tech incoming transfer Ross Steelman has advanced to the Round of 16 Thursday at the 121st U.S. Amateur, dispatching J.M. Butler of Louisville, Ky., 2 and 1, in the Round of 32 following the completion of his 2-up victory over Australia’s Louis Dobbelaar in the Round of 64.
The Tech junior, seeded 17th in the match play bracket and ranked No. 98 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, will face University of Florida junior Ricky Castillo, seeded 33rdand ranked No. 5 in the world, in a Round of 16 match Friday at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.
It is the third straight year a Georgia Tech golfer has reached the Round of 16, following Andy Ogletree and Tyler Strafaci, who won the U.S. Amateur in 2019 and 2020.
Steelman, who enrolled at Georgia Tech this summer following two seasons at Missouri, grabbed the lead over Butler, a sophomore at Auburn, with a par at the par-3 eighth hole and led the rest of the match. The junior from Columbia, Mo., increased his lead to three holes when Butler bogeyed the par-4 10th hole, and Steelman birdied the par-5 12th. Butler got one hole back at the par-4 14th with when Steelman bogeyed, but could get no closer. Steelman closed him out on the 17th after matching 4s with Butler on 15, 16 and 17.
In his first-round match, which began Wednesday and was completed Thursday morning, Steelman had a long battle with the 19-year-old Dobbelaar, who this summer has won the Dogwood Invitational in Atlanta, the North and South Amateur and the Australian Men’s Amateur Championship and ranks No. 30 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Dobbelaar struck first with a birdie at the par-4 third, but Steelman tied it back up with a birdie at the par-4 fifth. The match remained square until Steelman won the 9th and 10thholes with a birdie and a par, respectively, to move ahead 2-up. After Dobbelaar birdied the par-4 11th, Steelman restored his 2-up lead with a birdie at the par-3 13th. A birdie by Dobbelaar at 17 cut the lead to one hole, but Steelman won the 18th with a par for the 2-up victory.
Steelman qualified for the U.S. Amateur by winning medalist honors at Rome, Ga., with rounds of 66-66. His best finishes this summer were a tie for third at the Monroe Invitational and a tie for 11th at the Northeast Amateur. A second-team All-SEC selection as a sophomore in 2021 at Missouri, he won two collegiate events in two seasons there. He finished the 2020-21 collegiate season as the 28th-ranked player in the nation by Golfstat, and No. 33 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Index.
Castillo, from Yorba Linda, Calif., reached the round of 16 by defeating Donald Kay of San Diego, Calif., 5 and 4, in the Round of 64, and outlasting Sweden’s David Nyfjall in 21 holes in the Round of 32.
The Round of 32 is scheduled to resume on Friday morning. Peacock, Golf Channel and NBC will broadcast all three remaining days of match play, with the 36-hole final scheduled for Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. EDT.
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the A-T Fund’s Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes, and the Support The Swarm Fund, created to give fans an opportunity to help Georgia Tech athletics maintain its recent momentum through the financial challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic! To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH GOLF
Georgia Tech’s golf team has completed 25 years under head coach Bruce Heppler, winning 64 tournaments in his tenure. The Yellow Jackets have won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, made 29 appearances in the NCAA Championship and been the national runner-up four times. Connect with Georgia Tech Golf on social media by liking their Facebook page, or following on Twitter (@GTGolf) and Instagram. For more information on Tech golf, visit Ramblinwreck.com.