UM's Carlson draws huge crowds; maybe Harbaugh today?

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Nick Carlson of Hamilton, Michigan chips in a birdie from the rough off the 13th green of the North Course.

Bloomfield Township — As Nick Carlson keeps winning, the crowds at the U.S. Amateur keep on growing.

The sophomore-to-be at the University of Michigan won again Friday, beating Dylan Meyer 3-and-1 to reach Saturday's semifinals. And he did so in front of a throng of fans, many wearing maize and blue and plenty of those chanting “Go Blue.”

Among those in the gallery Friday included Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel, and there was a rumor floating around that football coach Jim Harbaugh would take in the semifinal matches.

“I don't know if that's true,” Carlson said of Harbaugh’s attendance. “To see Mr. Manuel out here was incredible. I saw him for the first time after 7, and I kind of hit my caddie. I was like, ‘That's Warde. That's so cool.’ We were running around, just enjoying it. Never thought one little golfer could draw out a Michigan ad from doing his paperwork.”

He’s not only drawing the athletic director and maybe the football coach, but he’s drawing Michigan fans from all over. It’s been the case all week, but the galleries following Carlson and Meyer were the biggest of the quarterfinal matches Friday.

“It was so cool. So cool,” Carlson said. “I'm so lucky to be able to have that. I think it might get into some other players’ minds a little bit, and you know, I can use that as an advantage.

“But I love having that and I love feeding off of it.”

He’ll need all the support he can get in the semifinals against Australian Curtis Luck, the seventh-ranked amateur in the world who shot 63 in the 2015 U.S. Amateur qualifier.

Luck has been impressed by the support Carlson has received.

“It's always good to have a crowd,” Luck said. “I'm looking forward to it. We'll just see hopefully, maybe I'll have to give them something to clap about even if they don't want to, but we'll just see. That's how it is. I understand, being from Michigan, he's going to have a big following. And it's great to see he's got such a massive crowd supporting him this week.

“I've heard his cheers from all around the course the entire week. That's awesome for him.”

Wrong school

Curtis Strange apparently needs to brush up on the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.

Strange was handling the on-course reporting for Fox during the U.S. Amateur quarterfinal match Friday between Carlson and Meyers, and when Carlson drove the par-4 sixth green, Strange was amazed that Carlson didn’t hold a higher status on his college team.

“It’s hard to believe he’s the No. 4 player for Michigan State,” Strange said after Carlson’s tee shot stopped pin-high on the 305-yard hole.

Of course, Carlson plays for Michigan.

Strange quickly was corrected by the crew in the booth at No. 18, letting him know Carlson, in fact, plays at Michigan.

Parking plans

Changes have been made to public parking for the weekend. Fans planning to attend Saturday's semifinal and Sunday's championship rounds should park at the Bingham Farms Office Center, located at 30700 Telegraph Road in Bloomfield Township. Parking is free and complimentary shuttle service will drop spectators at the main entrance gate, beginning at 7 a.m.

Spectator parking lots for Monday through Friday rounds, located at Lahser High School, will be closed through the weekend. Spectators should plan their route in advance, with area road closures on Big Beaver Road and West Maple Road, and anticipated traffic and re-routing on Saturday for the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Another underdog

The other semifinal match will see Jonah Texeira of Porter Ranch, Calif., take on Brad Dalke of Norman, Okla. Texeira made the U.S. Amateur as an alternate and never expected to still be playing.

“Words can't explain, to be honest, how I feel right now,” Texeira said. “It feels like I'm dreaming. I never thought I'd get this far. When I got here, I was an alternate, so my whole goal was just to get into match play, and then to make it this far is an absolute blessing.”

In the quarterfinals, Texeira defeated Luis Gagne of Orlando, 3 and 2. Dalke beat David Boote of Wales, 3-and-2.

Carlson's desired Michigan hat not for sale