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Bailey falls after morning win

CHICAGO — Five birdies in the final 11 holes helped Vanderbilt sophomore William Gordon overcome a 3-down deficit and turn back Port Neches-Groves ex Braden Bailey 1-up at the elite eight level of the Western Amateur Championship.

Bailey, who won his morning match 1-up over LSU senior Eric Ricard at Knollwood Club, played steady golf against Gordon but couldn’t withstand the birdie barrage. The Baylor sophomore  made 16 pars and two birdies in the losing effort.

Early on, it looked like Bailey was going to win in a blowout. He was 3-up after the first 3 holes, as Gordon stumbled out of the gate with back-to-back bogeys, then lost the third hole to a Bailey birdie.

The match began to turn when Gordon birdied the par 3, seventh hole. He followed with a birdie 4 at 8 to close to 1 down, then pulled even with a birdie 2 at 12. Gordon, from Davidson, N.C., took the lead with a birdie 3 at 14.

Neither player won a hole the rest of the way. They halved the par 5, 16th with birdies.

In the morning match there was never a lead of more than 1 up for either player. Bailey went 1 down when Shreveport’s Ricard, who helped LSU win the 2015 NCAA championship, birdied the 13th hole.

Bailey pulled even with a par 5 on 16, then won 17 with a par 3. He advanced to the afternoon match by halving 18 with a par.

For Bailey, it was the end to a spectacular summer of top 10 finishes in high profile events. His next competitive round will be when Baylor opens its fall season. He is expected to be the Bears No. 1 player.