Brian Blanchard, Sam Engel claim U.S. Amateur Four-Ball title

FLOURTOWN, Pa. -- Scottsdale, Arizona, software friends Brian Blanchard and Sam Engel won the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship on Wednesday at Philadelphia Cricket Club's Wissahickon Course, beating Tennessee teenagers Blades Brown and Jackson Herrington 2 up.

"It's why we grind," Blanchard said. "It's why we're out there after work until it gets dark, grinding all day."

Blanchard, 31, is a software engineer, while Engel, 29, is an account executive who is starting a software company. Engel is the first left-hander to win the event and the 10th to take a USGA title.

"It's hard to qualify for USGA championships, and if you don't have your best, best stuff, you go home," Engel said." There's a lot of really great players. We brought it this week."

Brown, a 17-year-old from Nashville, is a rising high school junior who made the cut this month in the PGA Tour's Myrtle Beach Classic. Herrington, an 18-year-old from Dickson, is an incoming freshman at the University of Tennessee. He's also a left-hander.

Blanchard made a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-4 13th hole, and Engel -- a former Cal State Northridge player -- hit a a 52-degree wedge from 125 yards to a foot for a conceded birdie on No. 14 and a 2-up lead. Brown and Herrington won the par-4 17th with a birdie to stay alive, and Team Software wrapped it up with a birdie on the par-4 18th.

In the semifinals Wednesday morning, Blanchard and Engel edged Floridians Will Davenport and Mike Smith 1 up, and Brown and Herrington beat Furman University teammates Trey Diehl and Mac Scott 4 and 3.