Former Fort Collins resident Drew Stoltz and partner Drew Kittleson still going strong after marathon day and big rally at U.S. Amateur Four-Ball; meanwhile, Coloradans Hunter Swanson & Max Lange fall in a tight quarterfinal; Lange makes ace in round of 16
By Gary Baines – 5/23/2023
The dream lives on for two thirtysomething reinstated amateurs who came ever so close to the promised land last year.
Former Fort Collins resident Drew Stoltz and partner Drew Kittleson, both of Scottsdale, Ariz., used an improbable marathon performance Tuesday to advance to the final day of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball for the second consecutive year.
After surviving a 22-hole match in the round of 16 on Tuesday morning (and early afternoon) in Kiawah Island, S.C., the Drew Crew rallied after being 3 down after nine holes — thanks largely to a surge by Kittleson — to take the lead in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. But with Stoltz and Kittleson 1 up through 17 holes and the sun setting, the match was suspended. It will resume at 7 a.m. (ET) on Wednesday, followed by the semifinals in the morning and the title match in the afternoon.
So the duo’s hope of returning to the U.S. Four-Ball final for a second straight year is still alive, with the ultimate goal being a title-winning victory after last year’s 19-hole loss in the finals.
Stoltz, won the 2001 5A Colorado state high school individual title and the 2004 CGA Amateur, and Kittleson, the 2008 U.S. Amateur runner-up, won four holes with birdies on the stretch from Nos. 10-16 to take the lead in their quarterfinal. Then they tied Tennessee high schoolers Blades Brown and Jackson Herrington with pars on No. 17 before play was stopped.
That was after the Drews went overtime and won their round-of-16 match with a birdie on the 22nd hole against Floridians Marc France and Carl Santos-Ocampo. In that one, neither team led by more than 1 up at any point.
Meanwhile, another local team advanced to the quarterfinals, but was ousted on Tuesday afternoon. Hunter Swanson of Denver and Max Lange of Golden, freshman golfers at the University of Colorado and Colorado School of Mines, respectively, lost 1 up in the quarters to 13th-seeded Ohioans Tyler Goecke and Bryce Haney, current and former golfers, respectively, at Wright State.
Swanson, a three-time Colorado junior player of the year who will be playing for CU at the NCAA nationals starting on Friday in Scottsdale, and Lange never trailed in their first two matches this week — both 5-and-3 victories. But the two Coloradans, who originally were alternates after the qualifying tournament last fall at CommonGround Golf Course, never led in the quarterfinals, when they were 3 down after 12 holes. But they did rally in a big way, getting within 1 down with a birdie on No. 16. But both teams parred 17 and birdied 18, best ball, to give Goecke and Haney the victory. On 18, Swanson drained a 30-foot birdie, only to see Goecke tie the hole with a 15-foot birdie of his own.
The birdies in the final six holes — after 12 straight pars — gave the Coloradans a 3-under total for the match.
Earlier, in the round of 16, Lange made the first hole-in-one at the Four-Ball since 2018. He holed out from 152 yards with a gap wedge on No. 5. Also in the Sweet 16, Kittleson made an eagle from 167 yards with a 9-iron on the par-4 sixth hole. Kittleson was a college teammate — at Florida State — of Brooks Koepka, who won the PGA Championship on Sunday.
Results of teams with strong Colorado connections at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball in Kiawah Island, S.C.:
Tyler Goecke, Xenia, Ohio, and Bryce Haney, Huber Heights, Ohio, def. Hunter Swanson, Denver, and Max Lange, Golden, 1 up
Former Fort Collins resident Drew Stoltz and Drew Kittleson, Scottsdale, Ariz., lead Blades Brown, Nashville, and Jackson Herrington, Dickson, Tenn., 1 up through 17 holes (match suspended due to darkness)
Round of 16 (Tuesday)
Hunter Swanson, Denver, and Max Lange, Golden, def. Corey Matthey, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Samuel Storey, England, 5 and 3
Former Fort Collins resident Drew Stoltz and Drew Kittleson, Scottsdale, Ariz., def. Marc France, Plantation, Fla. and Carl Santos-Ocampo, Naples, Fla., 22 holes
Round of 32 (Monday)
Hunter Swanson, Denver, and Max Lange, Golden, def. Chip Brooke and Marc Dull, 5 and 3
Former Fort Collins resident Drew Stoltz and Drew Kittleson, Scottsdale, Ariz., def. William Peel IV and Colin St. Maxens, 5 and 3
STROKE PLAY (Saturday and Sunday)
Advanced to Match Play
22. Former Coloradan Drew Stoltz/Drew Kittleson 67-65—132
27. Hunter Swanson, Denver/Maxwell Lange, Golden 65-68–133
Failed to Advance to Match Play
57. Michael Harrington, CO Springs/Dylan Wonnacott, Loveland 66-71–137
57. Brendan Connolly, Centennial/Benjamin Dubois, Denver 72-65–137
For all the results from Kiawah Island, CLICK HERE.
About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for ColoradoGolf.org since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates ColoradoGolfJournal.com