The end of this U.S. Amateur match was so bonkers the players had to finish the next morning

US Am match

Rui (Paul) Chang and John Michael Butler needed floodlights on the 18th green on Thursday.


One thing that makes the U.S. Amateur Championship — and match play in general — so exciting year after year is the fact that you never know what can happen. One well-timed shot can turn a match around, and make the difference between winning and losing.

And at Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado on Thursday, U.S. Am competitors Rui (Paul) Chang, who formerly played on the University of Virginia’s club team and will tee it up for the Cavaliers for the first time this fall, and Auburn rising senior John Michael Butler trading blow after blow until complete darkness, only to have to return in the morning to complete their match.

Here’s how all the drama played out.

Chang and Butler’s match was a late start from the get-go, because Chang had to go extra holes (22!) to defeat his Round of 32 opponent Caleb Surratt.

bryson dechambeau at u.s. amateur
Bryson DeChambeau wows with persimmon in surprise showing at U.S. Amateur
By: Josh Berhow

Chang took a quick lead of 2 up through 2, but Butler bounced back with birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 to tie the match. Chang then went 1 up on 10 after Butler bogeyed, only for Butler to reclaim a 1 up lead with wins on Nos. 11 and 12. A Chang win on 13 tied the match again, with five holes left in regulation.

As darkness began to close in, the real fireworks began. After Chang hit the flagstick on 15, the duo remained tied on the par-4 16th when Chang holed out for an eagle 2 to take a 1 up lead with two holes to play.

But Butler wasn’t about to go quietly, nearly holing out his approach on the par-5 17th to tap-in birdie range, evening the match once again as the players headed to the 18th tee.

Butler then hit his drive on 18 more than 330 yards into the water — but he didn’t realize it from the tee. Chang, meanwhile, found the fairway and the green in regulation. Then, with floodlights illuminating the green, Butler nearly holed out his recovery, then drained the short putt he had left to remain tied with a monumental par.

And then, with all that adrenaline pumping for both players, it was time to call it a day. The duo had to return early Friday morning to complete their match. Butler ultimately prevailed with a par on the first hole to win in 19 holes.

Now Butler, the No. 11 seed, faces Mexican player Jose Islas, the No. 30 seed, in the quarterfinals. Quite a way to start the day. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on