Bandon, Ore. – Qualifying medalist Corbin Mills won his first-round match at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship on Wednesday at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, defeating Greg O’Connor, 4 and 2, at 6,832-yard, par-70 Bandon Trails.
The 21-year-old Mills, a Clemson University junior from Easley, S.C., struggled out of the gate with a double-bogey 5 at the par 3 second and a bogey on the par-4 fourth to go 1 down. He eventually settled down and took control of the match on the inward nine, closing out O’Connor, a 19-year-old from Alpharetta, Ga., on the 16th hole.
“It took me a little while to get my momentum going today,” said Mills, who faces 2011 NCAA Division I champion John Peterson of Fort Worth, Texas, in the second round of match play on Thursday morning at 7,016-yard, par-71 Old Macdonald, where Mills carded a championship-best 67 in Tuesday’s final round of stroke-play qualifying.
“I’m excited to get back to Old Mac, especially after yesterday,” said Mills. “I really like how creative you can be there and the variety of shots you can hit into the greens.”
Jonathan Randolph, of Brandon, Miss., who finished second in qualifying, also won his first-round match, defeating Max McKay, of St. Augustine, Fla., 4 and 3. Randolph won five consecutive holes between Nos. 8 and 12 to seize control.
“I hit the ball pretty well all day and gave myself some good chances,” said Randolph. “I put the pressure on him to make some putts and overall I just stuck to my game plan and executed it.”
Devon Purser, the only competitor to break par on Bandon Trails during Monday’s qualifying round, lost to 18-year-old Kevin Lee, 3 and 1.
“I was pretty nervous,” said Lee. “I saw his name on the pairings sheet and thought ‘I have to play this guy?’ I knew I had to play really well today.”
One of the more dramatic matches of the day involved Derek Ernst, of Clovis, Calif., and Joseph David, of Madison, Tenn. David won the first three holes and was 2 up through seven holes when the 21-year-old Ernst aced the 299-yard par-4 eighth hole with a 3-wood. It was the first known hole-in-one on a par 4 in APL history. Hole-in-one records for the championship, which dates to 1922, began in 1982.
“It was playing straight downwind,” said Ernst. “The hole was cut in the back-left and I almost thought it was going in the right bunker. Then it kicked left, rode a ridge toward the hole and just disappeared. It gave me a big boost of momentum the rest of the day.”
After the dust settled, Ernst prevailed in 19 holes. It was one of three first-round matches to go extra holes.
Kevin Rei, of Chico, Calif., recorded the day’s widest margin of victory, defeating fellow Californian Kevin Fitzgerald of Riverside, 7 and 6. As a caddie at Bandon Dunes, Rei is no stranger to the winds and variable conditions that come with coastal golf.
“It’s definitely a big advantage being a caddie here,” said Rei. “This is different golf than a lot of the country sees.”
Rei will face another Californian, Todd Baek of San Diego, on Thursday morning at Old Macdonald.
Andrew Vijarro of Bend is the only Oregon native remaining in the championship. The University of Oregon senior defeated Joon Heui Lee, 2 up.
“From a golf standpoint, I’m not sure it’s an advantage being from Oregon,” said Vijarro, “but it means a lot to have my mom and friends here and watching.”
Vijarro’s University of Oregon teammates split their matches on Wednesday. Daniel Miernicki, of Santee, Calif., advanced with a 3-and-2 win over Daniel Falcucci of Worcester, Mass., but Sean Maekawa, of Paauilo, Hawaii, dropped the final four holes of his match to J.J. Spaun, of Los Angeles, Calif., to lose, 1 down.
Alex Williams, a graduate of Oregon State and assistant golf coach at the United States Military Academy at West Point, squeaked past Brodie Hullinger, 1 up.
After his four years playing golf for the Beavers, Williams took some time off from golf and did not touch a club for 11 months.
“After I took the time off I realized I wanted to be involved with the game,” said Williams. “The coaching job at West Point was a dream come true.”
One of the biggest turnarounds of the day came courtesy of Herbie Aikens, 29, of Pembroke, Mass. Aikens trailed by two holes standing on the ninth tee, but used his distance advantage to win six of his last seven holes to close out Taylor Smith, 4 and 3.
“I got to [No.] 9 and even though I was 2 down, I was thinking it was OK because I was hitting it 40 yards by him,” said Aikens. “I hit a nice drive, 3-iron to pin high and two-putted for my birdie. That sparked me from there and I went on a tear.”
With the remaining 32 players heading to Old Macdonald for their second-round matches on Thursday morning, Aikens said he plans to work on his short game.
“The fairways are a little bigger, but so are the greens. I’m going to the big putting green to practice my 300-foot putts this afternoon.”
This year’s APL is being played concurrently at Bandon Dunes with the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. The WAPL field played their first round of match play at Old Macdonald on Wednesday. Medalist Cheyenne Woods advanced to the second round with a 4-and-3 victory over Ashley Edwards.
The APL and WAPL are two of the 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association.
Michael Trostel is the curator/historian at the USGA Museum. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bandon, Ore. – Results from Wednesday’s first round of match play at the 86th U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship being held at 6,832-yard, par-71 Bandon Trails at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Corbin Mills, Easley, S.C. (138) def. Greg O’Connor, Alpharetta, Ga. (152), 4 and 2
John Peterson, Fort Worth, Texas (148) def. Peter Williamson, Hanover, N.H. (148), 3 and 2
Talor Gooch, Midwest City, Okla. (145) def. Garrett Rank, Canada (150), 3 and 2
T.J. Shuart, Coral Springs, Fla. (150) def. Ben Geyer, Arbuckle, Calif. (145), 2 up
Minghao Wang, Alpharetta, Ga. (151) def. Josh Anderson, Murrieta, Calif. (144), 2 up
Andrew Vijarro, Bend, Ore. (149) def. Joon Heui Lee, Las Cruces, N.M. (147), 2 up
Kevin Lee, Cerritos, Calif. (151) def. Devon Purser, Clearfield, Utah (144), 3 and 1
Robert Hoadley, Southern Pines, N.C. (149) def. Jed Dirksen, Hampton, Iowa (147), 5 and 3
Harris English, Thomasville, Ga. (143) def. Bryan Bergna, Riverside, Calif. (151), 4 and 2
Scott Kammann, Baneberry, Tenn. (148) def. Alexander Moore, Richland, Wash. (149), 19 holes
John Thompson, Coconut Creek, Fla. (146) def. Peter Kyo Won Koo, Korea (150), 2 and 1
James Erkenbeck, San Diego, Calif. (146) def. Scott Pinckney, Scottsdale, Ariz. (149), 1 up
Paul McConnell, Garland, Texas (143) def. J.J. Holen, Castaic, Calif. (151), 2 and 1
Herbie Aikens, Pembroke, Mass. (149) def. Taylor Smith, Covington, Ga. (148), 4 and 3
Eric Steger, Noblesville, Ind. (151) def. Julian Suri, St. Augustine, Fla. (145), 4 and 3
J.J. Spaun, Los Angeles, Calif. (146) def. Sean Maekawa, Paauilo, Hawaii (149), 1 up
Jonathan Randolph, Brandon, Miss. (141) def. Max McKay, St. Augustine, Fla. (152), 4 and 3
Alex Williams, Cornwall On Hudson, N.Y. (148) def. Brodie Hullinger, Vivian, S.D. (149), 1 up
Nick MacDonald, Lebanon, N.H. (150) def. Kyle Beversdorf, Plymouth, Minn. (145), 4 and 3
Kevin Miller, Dover, Ohio (150) def. Anthony Degol, Hollidaysburg, Pa. (145), 3 and 2
Maxwell Marsico, Las Vegas, Nev. (144) def. David Smith, Plymouth, Minn. (151), 2 and 1
T.J. Howe, Osceola, Pa. (147) def. Clifford Blanquicet Jr., Sanford, N.C. (149), 19 holes
Todd Baek, San Diego, Calif. (146) def. David Flynn, Elk Grove Village, Ill. (151), 5 and 3
Kevin Rei, Chico, Calif. (149) def. Kevin Fitzgerald, Riverside, Calif. (147), 7 and 6
Alex Edfort, Somerset, N.J. (143) def. Paul Misko, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (151), 4 and 3
Harold Varner III, Gastonia, N.C. (149) def. Jim Liu, Smithtown, N.Y. (148), 1 up
Derek Ernst, Clovis, Calif. (145) def. Joseph David, Madison, Tenn. (150), 19 holes
Chris Mory, Haslett, Mich. (150) def. Charlie Hughes, Canada (145), 1 up
Chris Williams, Moscow, Idaho (144) def. Dan Ellis, Negaunee, Mich. (151), 4 and 3
Jack Schultz, Whitefish Bay, Wis. (148) def. Andrew Gain, Bradenton, Fla. (149), 6 and 5
Jesse Droemer, Sealy, Texas (151) def. Tim Cochran, Des Peres, Mo. (145), 3 and 2
Daniel Miernicki, Santee, Calif. (146) def. Daniel Falcucci, Worcester, Mass. (149), 3 and 2
Bandon, Ore. – Pairings and starting times for Thursday’s second round of match play at the 86th U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship being held at 7,016-yard, par-71 Old Macdonald at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. All times PDT. (Note: Third round of match play to be played Thursday afternoon at Old Macdonald)
Round of 32
7:30 a.m.: Corbin Mills, Easley, S.C. (138) vs. John Peterson, Fort Worth, Texas (148)
7:40 a.m.: Talor Gooch, Midwest City, Okla. (145) vs. T.J. Shuart, Coral Springs, Fla. (150)7:50 a.m.: Minghao Wang, Alpharetta, Ga. (151) vs. Andrew Vijarro, Bend, Ore. (149)
8 a.m.: Kevin Lee, Cerritos, Calif. (151) vs. Robert Hoadley, Southern Pines, N.C. (149)
8:10 a.m.: Harris English, Thomasville, Ga. (143) vs. Scott Kammann, Baneberry, Tenn. (148)
8:20 a.m.: John Thompson, Coconut Creek, Fla. vs. James Erkenbeck, San Diego, Calif. (146)
8:30 a.m.: Paul McConnell, Garland, Texas (143) vs. Herbie Aikens, Pembroke, Mass. (149)
8:40 a.m.: Eric Steger, Noblesville, Ind. (151) vs. J.J. Spaun, Los Angeles, Calif. (146)
8:50 a.m.: Jonathan Randolph, Brandon, Miss. (141) vs. Alex Williams, Cornwall On Hudson, N.Y. (148)
9 a.m.: Nick MacDonald, Lebanon, N.H. (150) def. Kevin Miller, Dover, Ohio (150)
9:10 a.m.: Maxwell Marsico, Las Vegas, Nev. (144) vs. T.J. Howe, Osceola, Pa. (147)
9:20 a.m.: Todd Baek, San Diego, Calif. (146) vs. Kevin Rei, Chico, Calif. (149)
9:30 a.m.: Alex Edfort, Somerset, N.J. (143) vs. Harold Varner III, Gastonia, N.C. (149)
9:40 a.m.: Derek Ernst, Clovis, Calif. (145) vs. Chris Mory, Haslett, Mich. (150)
9:50 a.m.: Chris Williams, Moscow, Idaho (144) vs. Jack Schultz, Whitefish Bay, Wis. (148)
10 a.m.: Jesse Droemer, Sealy, Texas (151) vs. Daniel Miernicki, Santee, Calif. (146)