Major payoff looms for Yip

PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

It's a good thing Ryan Yip is treating the U.S. Amateur golf tournament like a major because that's exactly what a win could bring.

Yip advanced to the quarter-finals of the prestigious American amateur event yesterday after defeating Brain Harman of the U.S. 1-up at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.

While the 20-year-old Calgarian still has a gruelling 72 holes -- 36 on Sunday -- to win the championship, the possibility now exists for Yip to earn a berth into next season's U.S. Open, British Open and the Masters.

"I can understand why Tiger Woods counts this as a major victory because this really feels like a major atmosphere out here," said Yip, who would automatically clinch a spot in the majors with a win Sunday. "I've been to a major tournament before, watching, and you kind of get that feeling out there -- just trying to grind your way around and make pars. That's what major championships are about, just making pars."

Top-seeded James Lepp of Abbotsford, B.C., lost his second-round match to American Dane Burkhart yesterday 2-and-1.

Joining Yip in the quarters are J.C. Deacon of Unionville, Ont., who beat American George Zahringer 1-up, and Brampton, Ont., native Mark Leon with a 1-up victory over Kevin Chappell of the U.S.

All three of the Canadians will take to the course today in the Round of 8.

Yip, who started yesterday by defeating American Brett Stegmaier 2-up to advance, trailed Harman for most of the third round. After pulling even on the 15th hole, Yip managed to seal the victory on No. 18, despite being in a tough spot.

"I tried to lean on one and came over the top of it and hooked it into the rough," the Kent State student said of his tee shot on the closer. "I was just lucky to find it.

"I just kind of laid it up and took my chances in front of the green making a par. Luckily, he didn't have the greatest lie over there and I was able to sneak away with a bogey."


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