AJGA alumnus Sam Bennett of Madisonville, Texas, claimed the 122nd U.S. Amateur at Ridgewood Country Club. Bennett, a rising fifth-year at Texas A&M University, outplayed fellow AJGA alumnus Ben Carr in the final round.
In the stroke-play portion of the event, Bennett shot a round of 1-over-par 71 and a round of 2-over-par 73 to tie for 30th place. He entered match-play as the No. 36 seed. Bennett played No. 29 seed, Nick Gabrelcik in the round of 64. The match reached the 19th hole, where Bennett birdied the par-4 No. 1 to advance in the championship.
In the round of 32, Bennett faced No. 4 seed, Fred Biondi. Sam showed no fear in this match, and used five birdies to earn an early win against Biondi. Bennett ended the match on the par-5 No. 13, winning 6 & 5. Sam faced No. 45 seed David Puig, and played another short match to win against the Spaniard. Sam birdied the par-4 No. 16 to win 4 & 2. In the quarterfinals, Bennett faced the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and No. 21 seed, Stewart Hagestad. Hagestad won the first hole on the par-4 No. 4, but that would be his only win of the day. Bennett proceeded to win four holes to end the match on the par-4 No. 16.
In the semifinals, Bennett faced no.16 seed, Dylan Menante. Menante and Bennett battled back and forth throughout the day, but Sam was able to get to a 2-up lead by the 12th hole. Menante answered back with two wins on the par-4 No. 14 and the par-3 No. 15 to tie the match. Bennett birdied the par-5 No. 17 and ended the match on the par-4 No. 18, 1-up. Bennett faced No. 34 seed, Ben Carr in the final round of match-play. Carr never held a lead in the match, at one point losing 5-down to Bennett. Ben fought back, and was only 1-down by the 35th hole. Both players ultimately parred the final hole, and Bennett was able to secure the championship by winning 1-up.
Sam played in multiple AJGA events as a junior. He had a runner-up finish at the 2014 Junior All-Star at Hot Springs Village and 2015 Valero Junior Texas Open. He will play his fifth and final year at Texas A&M University this upcoming year.