HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (Aug. 4, 2022) – Ross Steelman didn’t exactly ride a hot streak into the 120th Western Amateur Championship, but his swing is working now.

The 21-year-old from Columbia, Missouri, was 1-under par after 27 holes of stroke play, then played his last nine holes on Wednesday in just 30 shots. Steelman carried that over into Thursday’s marathon day, posting rounds of 66 and 68 to finish the four rounds of stroke play in 14-under par 270 and claim medalist honors.

“I haven’t been hitting the ball great as of the last couple of months,” said Steelman, who is playing in his first Western Amateur. “Me and my coach have been working on it a lot and it just kind of clicked and I started to trust it on the back nine yesterday.

“I started hitting it really well, hit a couple pretty close, then pitched in for eagle, and it was off to the races from there.”

Thursday ended with Streelman (Georgia Tech) holding the Cameron Eddy Trophy awarded to the Western Amateur medalist and the field trimmed to 16 players for the match play portion of the championship, which begins Friday.

Steelman took advantage of favorable scoring conditions on Thursday morning, putting himself in position to be medalist by making five birdies over his first 18 holes. He finished two shots ahead of Matthis Besard, 22, of Oudenaarde, Belgium, who was alone in second at 12-under 272. Second-round leader William Mouw, 21, of Chino, California, finished third at 11-under par.

For the full leaderboard, click here.

Trailed by his mom, dad and grandfather, Steelman marveled at the names of former Western Amateur medalists like Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Mark O’Meara, Tom Kite, Chick Evans and Bobby Jones.

“It’s a very prestigious list that I’m honored to be a part of now, and it was a lot of fun,” Steelman said.

Friday’s match play competition will be streamed live on GolfChannel.com and thewesternamateur.com, with replays on the Peacock streaming service. Fans can watch the finish of the eight Sweet 16 matches from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT on GolfChannel.com. Coverage will resume from 3-6 p.m. CT for the finish of the quarterfinal matches.

Ricky Castillo, of Yorba Linda, California, needed a big final round to make his fourth consecutive Sweet 16 appearance, and he got it. The 21-year-old senior at Florida shot a fourth-round 66 to earn the No. 10 seed and will face No. 7 Kelly Chinn (Duke), 19, of Great Falls, Virginia.

“It’s four long rounds, and anything can happen. The biggest thing is not letting one hole get to you, or one nine or even one round,” Castillo said. “It’s hard to make it to the Sweet 16, and to be able to do it four years in a row is pretty cool.”

Michael Thorbjornsen, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, extended his bid to become the first repeat winner of the Western Amateur since Justin Leonard did it at Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1992 and 1993. The 20-year-old bogeyed his last two holes Thursday but still finished at 7 under, good enough to earn the No. 12 seed and a matchup against No. 5 Cole Sherwood, 20, of Austin, Texas.

Thorbjornsen said he’s looking forward to the start of match play.

“I like being aggressive,” he said. “I just think it’s a lot more fun. You get to see the guy that you’re trying to beat, and you’re just playing against one guy.”

No. 3 Mouw will play No. 14 Spencer Tibbits, 23, of Vancouver, Washington. Mouw, who won the 2017 Western Junior at Park Ridge Country Club in Park Ridge, Illinois, is the first Western Junior champion to make the Sweet 16 since Collin Morikawa in 2018. He is also trying to become the first Western Junior champion to win the Western Amateur since Jhared Hack in 2007.

Seven players posted 6-under par to go to a playoff for the final two match play spots. Adrien Dumont de Chassart, 22, of Villers la Ville, Belgium, claimed the final spot, making a 20-foot birdie putt in the dark on the seventh playoff hole. He is one of three players at Illinois to make the Sweet 16, along with Besard and Tommy Kuhl, 22, of Morton, Illinois.

For the full match play bracket, click here.

First played at Glen View Club in 1899, the Western Amateur is the world’s third-oldest amateur championship, behind only the British Amateur (1855) and the U.S. Amateur (1895). It regularly attracts the top players from across the country and around the world, with past champions like Jack Nicklaus, Justin Leonard and Tiger Woods.

A grueling combination of stroke play and match play make the Western Amateur one of the most demanding events in golf. The field of 156 players compete in 72 holes of stroke play over three days to determine the Sweet 16 for match play.

Attendance and parking at the Western Amateur are free. For more information, visit www.thewesternamateur.com.