Yip exits with pride

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

All week, he'd been making just about everything but yesterday Ryan Yip's birdie train ground to a halt.

The 21-year-old Calgarian bowed out of the U.S. Amateur championship semifinal after getting beaten 2 and 1 by American John Kelly at the Hazeltine course in Chaska, Minn.

Despite being so close to making the final, Yip left with his head high, knowing he's accomplished a rare feat in the amateur golfing world by getting into the quarter-finals and semifinals in back-to-back years.

"There's not a lot of guys that can say they've done that except maybe Tiger Woods and he won it three years in a row," said Yip, who made the quarters in 2005 and would have gotten exemptions to next year's Masters, British and U.S. Opens if he'd won.

His success under a mountain of pressure confirmed what Yip knew in his own mind: That he can play with the best up and coming players in the world.

"I know when I turn pro, I'll be able to compete. I've always knows that,"said the Kent State (Ohio) student.

"I'm just proving it to everyone else right now."

He and Kelly were even heading into the back nine before Kelly hit a beautiful second shot on No. 10 that sailed over a tree protecting the green to within 10 ft. He made the birdie putt to go 1-up.

Yip didn't go away easily. The match seemed over on Hazeltine's signature No. 16, when Yip's second shot sailed and wound up buried on a steep hill just off the green. He got just enough club on his third shot from a precarious angle to dig it out of the hole, then just missed chipping in on his third shot.

Kelly then missed about a five-ft. putt that would have sealed the match before winning it on No. 17.

Yip was hoping to become the first Canadian since Gary Cowan in 1971 to win the US Amateur Championship.

"I really didn't capitalize when I had birdie opportunities. It's very frustrating when you can't take advantage of it," said Yip, who was also eliminated in the semifinal of the Canadian Amateur earlier this month.

"I felt like I was in control and I just couldn't pull it through, so it's kind of frustrating."

He's got one semester of school left before he gets his sports management degree. Then he'll turn pro.

Yip won't go to PGA Qualifying School until next fall and he plans on playing some Mini Tour events in the U.S. as well as some Canadian Tour events and go from there.


Videos

Photos