Ghim rallied to beat Michael Gellerman, 1 up, and Meth
routed Jess Bonneau, 6 and 5, to set the 36-hole championship match for the
89th and final U.S. Amateur Public Links, at the 7,365-yard, par-71 Sand Creek
Station Golf Course.
After not trailing in any of his first four matches, Ghim,
18, of Arlington Heights, Ill., never led against Gellerman until he was
conceded a birdie on the 18th hole.
Ghim found hazards on the first and second holes, making bogeys,
to fall 2 down. He won the par-3 third with a birdie, but followed with three
consecutive bogeys starting at No. 5.
But Gellerman, 20, of Sterling, Kan., played nearly as
sloppily, winning just one of those holes.
Ghim birdied the eighth to close within one hole, but
dropped the 10th and 12th with bogeys to fall three behind with just six holes
“I thought it might be too late,” said Ghim, who had led the
defending champion, Jordan Niebrugge, before being extended to extra holes in
the third round. “But my dad – I’m thankful he was there – kept pushing me and
kept reminding me that I was not out it, that I’ve been playing well and there
was no reason I couldn’t play well on the last few holes.”
Notebook: Run Ends For Bonneau, 43
With Ghim seemingly on the verge of a loss, Gellerman, who
was attempting to become the first player in 46 years to win the APL in his
home state, lost control of his swing, missing fairways and greens. Starting on
No. 13, the senior at the University of Oklahoma bogeyed three of his next four
holes and the match was all square.
“I was in a good spot with the lead and grinding along,”
said Gellerman, who lives an hour from Sand Creek Station. “I just couldn’t execute.
If all you have to do is make par to beat me, it’s not very hard.”
After they halved the par-3 17th with pars, both players hit
the fairway on the 18th. Playing first, Gellerman blocked his approach onto a steep
bank right of the green. Ghim followed with one of his best shots of the day – a
punch 6-iron from 164 yards to within 4 feet of the hole. Gellerman pitched to
15 feet, but missed the par putt and conceded the birdie, and the match, to
“The fact that [Gellerman] went first really benefited me
because I could tell how aggressive I could be,” said Ghim, who will attend the
University of Texas in the fall. “Because he went so far right, the door was wide
open for me. I aimed left and hit it perfect.”
Ghim’s opponent in the final, Meth, 21, of San Diego, has
been dialed in all week. He qualified as co-medalist with a pair of 67s and has
not trailed in any of his five matches – a span of 83 holes.
In the semifinal against Bonneau, Meth birdied the first two
holes to take a 2-up lead that he was never in danger of relinquishing. In
total, he birdied six of the 13 holes, including usual match play concessions.
“I hadn’t hit the first fairway all week,” said Meth. “I
stuck it to about 20 feet and rolled that one in. Then I hit it to 6 inches on
No. 2, so that was a good start.
“I tried not to give him any ground. Pick my spots, make
aggressive swings and take it from there.”
The 43-year-old Bonneau had few counterpunches against
Meth’s unyielding attack. After a long week of competition, the Houston
resident simply ran out of gas, making four bogeys and two double bogeys.
“He put me down right away with a couple of birdies,” said
Bonneau. “I just got a little tired; I got a little out of rhythm and hit three
or four shots in a row to the left, and before I knew it I was 4 down.”
In Friday morning’s quarterfinal matches, Ghim beat his
close friend, John Oda, of Honolulu, 3 and 2, and Meth held off Bryson
Dechambeau, of Clovis, Calif., in a hard fought 1-up victory.
Saturday’s match between Ghim and Meth will be the first
time since 1929 that co-medalists have faced each other in an APL championship
As finalists, both Ghim and Meth have earned exemptions into
next month’s U.S. Amateur at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga. They
are also exempt from local qualifying for next year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
The champion will receive a gold medal, custody of the James D. Standish Trophy
for the year and, if he remains an amateur, will likely receive an
invitation to the 2015 Masters.
The 36-hole championship match is scheduled to begin at 7
Michael Trostel is the senior curator/historian
at the USGA Museum. Email him at email@example.com.
Newton, Kan. – Results from Friday morning’s quarterfinal
matches at the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, being held at
7,365-yard, par-71 Sand Creek Station Golf Course.
Sterling, Kan. (145) def. Robert Geibel, Pembroke Pines, Fla. (140), 1 up
Doug Ghim, Arlington
Heights, Ill. (134) def. John Oda, Honolulu, Hawaii (140), 3 and 2
Houston, Texas (146) def. Rico Hoey, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (134), 5 and 3
Byron Meth, San
Diego, Calif. (134) def. Bryson Dechambeau, Clovis, Calif. (142), 1 up
Newton, Kan. – Results from Friday afternoon’s semifinal matches
at the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship being held at 7,365-yard,
par-71 Sand Creek Station Golf Course.
Doug Ghim, Arlington Heights, Ill. (134) def. Michael
Gellerman, Sterling, Kan. (145), 1 up
Byron Meth, San
Diego, Calif. (134) def. Jess Bonneau, Houston, Texas (146), 6 and 5
Newton, Kan. – The starting time for Saturday’s 36-hole
final match at the 2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship being held at 7,365-yard,
par-71 Sand Creek Station Golf Course.
7:00 a.m. - Doug Ghim, Arlington Heights, Ill.
(134) vs. Byron Meth, San Diego, Calif. (134)