Spain Park’s Chase Kyes reaches Round of 16 at U.S. Junior Amateur

Published 11:34 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

CHARLESTON, SC – Chase Kyes’ incredible year continued in Charleston as he reached the Round of 16 at the 75th U.S. Junior Amateur at Daniel Island Club from July 24-30.

Kyes, who won the Class 7A individual state championship in May while representing Spain Park, fell to eventual champion Bryan Kim, 3 and 2, in the Round of 16 on Friday, July 28 to cap off an impressive tournament.

The U.S. Junior Amateur is composed of two traditional stroke-play rounds followed by a knockout-style match-play bracket where the top 64 finishers from stroke play are seeded and face each other to determine the champion.

During the first stroke-play round, Kyes opened well with an even-par front nine thanks to birdies on holes 5 and 7 balanced out with bogeys on holes 4 and 6. He shot an even stronger back nine with birdies on holes 10 and 13 to go ten holes without shooting over par.

A bogey on hole 17 dropped him to one-under-par on the day, but the result was still good enough to set Kyes up well going into the second round.

In the second round, Kyes shot a 1-over-par 73 after hitting birdies on holes 8 and 13 while bogeying hole 5 and double-bogeying the par-3 12th hole. Kyes finished stroke play tied-for-36th at even par, which gave him the 36th seed going into match play.

Kyes faced the 29th seeded Zachery Pollo in the Round of 64. Kyes dominated the matchup and won 7-and-5, which was the largest margin of victory of any Round of 64 matchup. Kyes only dropped hole 7 to Pollo over the course of the round, and he rattled off victories on five of the next six holes to clinch a victory after hole 13.

Kyes then matched up with the 61st seed, Henry Guan, in the Round of 32, and Kyes had a similarly impressive round against the Irving, Texas native. He opened with eight straight unbeaten holes, including victories on holes 2, 3, 5 and 8. Guan briefly closed the gap to three holes on hole 12 before Kyes took both holes 13 and 14 with birdies to seal the match victory.

Kyes’ battle with Kim in the Round of 16 was a back-and-forth battle. After Kim went one-up on hole 2, Kyes responded with an emphatic birdie on the par-3 hole 4 to even the match. Kim then took the lead with a birdie on hole 6 before Kyes knotted the match up again by winning hole 9.

However, Kim opened the back nine with two straight victories on holes 10 and 11 to go two-up. Kyes was able to briefly draw within one hole of Kim with a birdie on the par-4 hole 14, but Kim took holes 15 and 16 to win the match 3-and-2 and advance to the quarterfinals.

Kim would go on to win the tournament, going two-up on Joshua Bai in the 36-hole final on Sunday, July 30 to take the trophy.

Even with the loss to the eventual champion, Kyes had an incredible showing in the Junior Amateur. Out of the 43 holes he played in his three match-play rounds, he shot par or below on all but four of the holes. He also shot 15 birdies across all three matches.

Kyes will aim to continue his spectacular 2023 at the biggest test of his career later this month: the 123rd U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado and Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colorado from August 14-20. The U.S. Amateur is considered the top prize in amateur golf, and many of its winners have gone on to become professional stars.