ATLANTA (AP) -- Jeff Quinney considered turning pro after winning the U.S. Amateur Championship, then thought better of it. The chance to capture another title was just too much to pass up.
Quinney remained on course to become the first repeat champion since Tiger Woods, beating former Arizona State teammate Chez Reavie 4 and 3 Wednesday as match play began at the 106-year-old tournament.
"I've got to like my chances," said Quinney, of Eugene, Ore., after playing the final three holes just for practice at historic East Lake Golf Club. "If I didn't, I shouldn't even be here."
The 22-year-old Quinney graduated from Arizona State in the spring but kept his amateur status. He has already had a memorable year, playing in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open by virtue of his 39-hole victory over James Driscoll at Baltusrol in 2000.
"I struggled all year to make a decision," Quinney said. "I had a chance to play some pro events, but I tried to look at it in the big picture. Twenty years down the road, I didn't want to be asking why I didn't give myself a chance to win it a second time."
He would be only the fourth player since World War II to defend his title, joining Harvie Ward Jr. (1955-56), Jay Sigel (1982-83) and Woods, who won three in a row from 1994-96.
Other past champions include Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Mark O'Meara, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Justin Leonard.
Quinney took command of his match on No. 8 when he knocked an 8-iron to 4 feet, then made a testy downhill putt for birdie and a 2-up lead.
The defending champ closed out the match at the 15th, despite knocking his second straight drive in the trees. He recovered with a shot that scraped the bark of a giant oak, powered through the branch of another tree and landed in the middle of the fairway.
From there, Quinney got up and down thanks to another brilliant iron shot. Reavie escaped a bunker but missed a 4-foot par putt that would have kept the match going.
"I've been fighting the tee ball all spring," Quinney said. "Everything else is fine, but a course like this is so demanding on the driver. You can't get away with mis-hits."
Reavie, a 19-year-old sophomore at Arizona State, was even more erratic, costing himself a chance to get back in the match when Quinney's drives began to stray.
"It's a little weird to play a friend," Reavie said. "You don't want to play each other until the final."
Quinney advanced to a second-round meeting with D.J. Trahan, a junior at Clemson and the 2000 U.S. Public Links champion.
Driscoll, of Brookline, Mass., got a scare before advancing to the round of 32. The former Virginia star needed an extra hole to beat 43-year-old Jay Childs after squandering a 3-up lead with eight to play.
Childs was playing in his first Amateur since 1980.
"I had never heard of him," Driscoll said. "But I could just tell on the first tee that he was the kind of guy who could sneak up on you and do some crazy things at the end of the match."
Childs, a golf company sales representative from nearby Kennesaw, made a great escape from the trees on the extra hole, but he chipped past the cup and missed a 15-footer to save par.
"I wasn't going to give any holes," Childs said. "I was going to make him play."
While Driscoll escaped, medalist Chris Mundorf of Raleigh, N.C., was the victim of the day's biggest upset.
Greg Earnhardt, a 32-year-old salesman from Greensboro, N.C., had to play two playoff holes in the morning just to qualify for match play. He then defeated Mundorf 1-up, taking advantage when his opponent bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 to give away a lead.
Also advancing were a couple of 17-year-old high school students, Ryan Blaum of Coral Gables, Fla., and Daniel Summerhays from Farmington, Utah. The oldest player still alive is 42-year-old Jerry Courville of Milford, Conn.
Two rounds will be played Thursday, leading up to a 36-hole final on Sunday.
East Lake, which opened in 1908, was the home course of Bobby Jones. The clubhouse serves as a virtual shrine to the man who won a record five Amateur titles, the last in 1930 during his Grand Slam sweep.
"The clubhouse is cool," Quinney said. "But the rest of the course seems modern to me. Maybe it was advanced for its time."
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