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Conners falls in U.S. Amateur semi-finals

Corey Conners

Courtesy USGA

Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., came up short in his bid to reach the finals of the U.S. Amateur Championship.

The Team Canada National Team member dropped a hard-fought 2 & 1 decision to Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusets on Saturday morning.

The low amateur at the 2013 British Open, Fitzpatrick fell behind by two after four holes but turned it around with a 30-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole, tied it when he chipped in from 25 feet on No. 8 and then added another birdie on the 10th hole to take the lead.

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"I think that was sort of a bit of a turning point," he said. "Those three holes were the big change, really."

Fitzpatrick took a 2-up lead into the 166-yard, par-3 16th hole, but he landed in the bunker while Conners put his drive about two feet from the pin and made birdie.

Down one on the 17th tee, Conners drove into the same bunker that Harry Vardon found during the playoff against Francis Ouimet in the 1913 U.S. Open. His approach was short of the green, and the next shot was within a foot or two. But Fitzpatrick reached the front of the green - about where Justin Leonard was in the 1999 Ryder Cup - and made birdie to end the match.

"He rolled in his 25 foot putt up the hill, which I was kind of expecting from what he'd done all throughout the day," Conners said. "Any time he was in a difficult place where he had little chance of getting it close, he hit an unbelievable little flop shot or pitch shot and played right beside the hole. When your opponent does that ... it kind of deflates the tires a little bit."

Conners was the first Canadian to reach the semi-finals of the prestigious event since Ryan Yip in 2006.

Fitzpatrick could become the first English champion of the tournament since Harold Hilton in 1911. He will play Oliver Goss, who earned a 2-up victory over fellow Australian Brady Watt.

Files from the Associated Press were used in this report

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