Brandt Snedeker, 22, of Nashville, Tenn., triggered by 11 birdies in 27 holes, defeated Dayton Rose, 20, of Stillwater, Okla., 10 and 9, in the 36-hole match play final Saturday at the 2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Blue Heron Pines Golf Club's East Course.
"It's one of those things that I'll look back on 40 years from now and I'll get goose bumps every time I think about it, about how I played," said Snedeker of his victory. "I'll probably be able to recall every shot I hit against every person. It's going to be a great memory."
Snedeker, a first-team All-American at Vanderbilt, who graduated this spring, tallied six birdies in the morning to gain a 3-up lead through 18 holes. He followed up with a white-hot display of iron play and putting in the afternoon 18 that led to five birdies in nine holes.
"Each time I hit a solid shot, each time I made a putt, I knew things were going to go my way," said Snedeker, the 2003 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. "My iron game this week was phenomenal. I don't think I've ever hit my irons this solidly, especially my long irons."
The margin of victory tied as the second-largest in the 78 years of the championship's history. Jim Sorenson, the 1985 champion, won 12 and 11 for the biggest margin of victory.
"Whew, that is seriously good," said Rose of Snedeker's play on the first nine holes of the afternoon 18. "Shooting 30 on that nine is incredible. That's what you have to do to win a national championship. I don't think there's anybody in the world that could have beat him. I know Tiger (Woods) was 4 or 5 under at the turn (Saturday at the British Open) and I don't think he could have beat him (Saturday)"
Snedeker, a quarterfinalist at the 2003 North and South Amateur and a member of Team USA at the Palmer Cup in South Carolina, was 3-up through seven holes but Rose won the 9th and 12th holes with birdies to cut Snedeker's edge to 1 up.
Snedeker, who eliminated defending champion Ryan Moore, 20, of Puyallup, Wash., in the second round, responded with birdies on the par-3 13th and par-4 16th to regain his lead.
The 6-3, 215-pound Rose, who had knocked off record-tying medalist Jeff Overton, 20, of Evansville, Ind., 3 and 1, in the quarterfinals, could not match his stellar play of the quarterfinal and semifinals.
Rose, a two-time Oklahoma State high school champion, has had only regional success in golf. He made the field for the Public Links when he holed a 9-iron in qualifying for an eagle 2 on the 10th hole to earn the second spot from Belmar Country Club in Norman, Okla.
The winner receives custody of the James D. Standish Jr. Cup for the ensuing year and, historically, an invitation to play in the next Masters Tournament, if still an amateur.
Both finalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2004 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club in August.
The U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, for bona fide public course players, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.