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Uihlein reaches quarters; Bradenton golfer gets by two tough foes on hot day in Missouri

Call Peter Uihlein a fighter. Call him a survivor.


And, if you must, call him a bit lucky.


For the moment, though, the most accurate description of the 17-year-old Bradenton golfer is U.S. Junior Amateur quarterfinalist. Uihlein won two draining matches Thursday at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo., to advance to this morning's showdown against Anthony Paolucci of Dallas.


"I'm definitely going to sleep well," Uihlein said at 7 p.m. CDT, in anticipation of his match against Paolucci and a possible semifinal match this afternoon. "I'm going to bed in about an hour."


Uihlein - an incoming senior at The IMG Academy School who trains at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy - nearly got to take an afternoon nap. He trailed Hunter Hamrick of Montgomery, Ala., 2-down with four holes to play in their round-of-32 match.



Uihlein inched back with a birdie on No. 15, then tied the match when he managed par on the 490-yard 17th and Hamrick made bogey. On 18 - another difficult par-4 - Uihlein chipped his third shot to 3 feet. His par putt proved decisive when Hamrick three-putted from long range for bogey.


Uihlein defeated Hamrick 2 and 1 two years ago in a U.S. Junior Amateur match at Longmeadow (Mass.) Country Club. This time, it was even tougher.



"I definitely felt relieved, because I was never even all-square until 17," Uihlein said. "I went through a lot of ups and downs, but my emotions were fine.



"I definitely dodged a huge bullet, because I was hitting it awful early in the match. I think by coming back the way I did, I showed I can come back in any match, in any situation I find myself."


A warm-up session before his afternoon match helped Uihlein hop on the birdie train against Jeffrey Kang of Fullerton, Calif., forging a 2-up lead through nine holes. Uihlein made a 20-foot par putt on No. 10 to maintain his advantage, then dashed Kang's comeback hopes on No. 13 by holing a sand wedge shot from 126 yards for eagle-2.


Uihlein said playing two matches in 92-degree heat wasn't as exhausting as he might have expected.


"You kind of get the adrenaline going. This course is awesome, and you want to keep playing it," he said.


Uihlein, the 2005 American Junior Golf Association Rolex Player of the Year, is seeking his first U.S. Golf Association title. This morning's other quarterfinal matches feature Cory Whitsett against Chris Cho; Wesley Graham against Sean Dale; and Michael McGowan against Sean Brannan.

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