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Allred eliminated from U.S. Amateur

It was a putt that Jason Allred would make 99 times out of 100, a measly2-footer with little break.

Line him up again with a blindfold on, and chances are he'd sink it.

But golf has a habit of bamboozling even its finest, and it claimed Allredas a victim Thursday at the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship when his puttfrom 2 feet lipped out on the 18th hole, allowing Robert Gerwin to walkoff with a 1-up victory and advance to the quarterfinals.

Earlier Thursday, Allred rolled to a 4 and — victory over Boomer Erickof Marco, Fla.

I just kind of took it for granted that I was going to make thatputt, Allred said from his hotel room following the match. Mentally,I was already on to the next hole. I was gearing myself for sudden death.

Allred, a senior-to-be at Ashland High and at 17 one of the youngestplayers in the prestigious tournament, was pleased to have made it to theround of 16. There were 312 golfers who began the tournament Monday. Aftertwo days of qualifying, the top 64 moved on to match play.

But it hurt Allred to lose like he did.

Overall, it was my best round, but it really is disappointing tolose by missing such a short putt, he said. Hopefully, I'lllearn something from this.

Allred and Gerwin, a 30-year-old from Cincinnati, went to the 18th hole­ a tough 450-yard par 4 that has water on the left side of the green­ all square

Neither hit a good tee shot, Allred's hooking to the left behind sometrees and into the deep rough, Gerwin's carrying to the right and into afairway bunker.

Allred's second shot left him 120 yards to the green, and he hit whathe thought was a solid sand wedge. But the ball took a hard hop on the green,spun backwards and came to rest 25 feet from the cup.

Gerwin, meanwhile, had 90 yards to the green on his third shot and hedeposited it within 10 feet of the hole.

Allred hit a good putt ­ it was uphill all the way ­ but it barelymissed and died 2 feet past the hole.

Gerwin, with a chance to put the match on ice, missed his 10-footer buttapped in for par.

And that's where Allred inexplicably misfired from near gimmerange.

It was straight downhill, and I just hit it too firm, Allredsaid. It hit the side of the hole and spun out.

It just proves once again that there are no sure shots in golf.

Allred played the 18 holes against Gerwin on the challenging Cog HillGolf and Country Club's Dubsdread course in 2 over par, his best score duringhis three matches at the tournament.

Allred trailed by two after six holes, but a par on the seventh and abirdie on the eighth got him back to even.

It was nip and tuck the rest of the way as neither golfer could get morethan one hole ahead.

While Allred was beating Erick earlier Thursday, Gerwin was staging abig upset, knocking off NCAA player of the year Jason Gore of Pepperdine.

In his match against Erick, Allred chipped in from the deep rough tosave par and halve the sixth hole, then won the seventh with a 15-foot birdieputt and never looked back.

I was all over the place on that (sixth) hole and had no businesshalving it, Allred said. I grabbed some momentum at that point.

Gerwin meets Matthew Kuchar of Lake Mary, Fla., in a quarterfinal matchtoday. Kuchar scored a 1-up win over John Rollins of Richmond, Va.

Joel Kribel of Pleasanton, Calif., survived an extra-hole match in themorning, then crushed his opponent Thursday afternoon to advance to thequarterfinals.

Kribel parred the first playoff hole in his second-round match againstIan Kennedy of Baton Rouge, La., to win his second-round match.

After lunch, he handed Edward Loar of Rockwall, Texas, a 7 and 6 defeat,playing Dubsdread's front nine in even par while Loar was posting a 6 andfive 5s.

Kribel, a junior at Stanford who won the 1996 Western Amateur,advanced to the semifinals of last year's U.S. Amateur. He lost there toschoolmate Tiger Woods, who went on to win his record third straight title.

Jason Allred of Ashland tees off at the fourth hole during the third round of match play in the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship. - Photo by AP</P