First Hurdle Overcome

Griffin Barela becomes first Coloradan to make match play at U.S. Amateur since 2016; CU’s Justin Biwer also advances

By Gary Baines – 8/16/2022

A week after Lauren Lehigh advanced farther than any other Coloradan in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in more than two decades — making the quarterfinals —  Griffin Barela of Lakewood managed a feat of his own at the U.S. Amateur in Paramus, N.J., on Tuesday.

Barela, the 2021 CGA Amateur champion who played his college golf at the University of Wisconsin, became the first Colorado resident since 2016 to make match play in the 312-man U.S. Amateur. For the record, then-Coloradans Wyndham Clark and Kyler Dunkle advanced to match play in the event six years ago, with Dunkle making it to the round of 16 and Clark to the round of 32.

In New Jersey, Barela finished tied for 14th in the 36-hole stroke-play portion of the event, making the 64-man match-play bracket with room to spare. He went 70-72 for a 1-over-par total of 142, making four birdies and five bogeys over the course of the two rounds.

Griffin Barela of Lakewood hits a tee shot on Tuesday at the U.S. Am. (Photo: Grant Halverson/USGA)

Barela will be joined in Wednesday’s round of 64 matches by University of Colorado golfer Justin Biwer, a San Diegan who shared 21st place in stroke play (70-73). In two days, Biwer recorded seven birdies, seven bogeys and a double bogey. Biwer is the first CU player to make match play at the U.S. Am since David Oraee advanced to the round of 16 in 2015.

Wednesday’s action from the U.S. Am will be televised by the Golf Channel from 2-4 p.m. (MT). Barela will face Arizona State golfer David Puig of Spain, who sits No. 10 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, at 8:10 a.m. (MT). Biwer will square off with Khavish Varadan of Malaysia and the University of Alabama at Birmingham at 10:20 a.m. (MT).

Barela was medalist in the 36-hole qualifier for the Amateur that was held July 19 at CommonGround Golf Course. Biwer placed second his his qualifier in Mission Viejo, Calif.

Next year’s U.S. Amateur will be held in Colorado at Cherry Hills Country Club.

Here are the scores for all the players with strong Colorado ties competing in the U.S. Amateur:

Advance to Match Play

14. Griffin Barela of Lakewood 70-72–142

21. CU golfer Justin Biwer 70-73–143

Failed to Advance to Match Play

121. Cole Nygren of Longmont 78-72–150

136. Gavin Hagstrom of Fort Collins/CSU 77-74–151

151. CU golfer Dylan McDermott 74-78—152

208. Dillon Stewart of Fort Collins 77-78–155

222. DU golfer Carson Griggs 75-81–156

254. Sam Marley of Centennial 82-76–158

For all the scores from the U.S. Am, CLICK HERE.