Jack Newman, 20, of Des Moines, Iowa, defeated John Chin, 21, of Temecula, Calif., 5 and 3, in Saturday’s 36-hole final of the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at the 7,551-yard, par 71 Murphy Creek Golf Course.
“I'm sure it will settle in tomorrow when [the win] really hits,” said a tired, but happy Newman, who will probably receive an invitation to the 2009 Masters Tournament and is exempt for the 2008 U.S. Amateur. “But, right now it's just taking it all in for what it's worth.”
Newman, who had a 1-up lead entering the afternoon round after a back-and-forth morning round, knew he couldn’t relax against Chin, who was vying to become the fifth left-handed player to win a USGA championship and the first Californian to win the Amateur Public Links since Tim Hogarth (then of Van Nuys) won in 1996.
Jack Newman, 20, of Des Moines, Iowa, reacts to just missing a putt on No. 2. (John Mummert/USGA)
“My stomach was turning,” said Newman, who missed putts twice this week that would have won his matches in regulation against Billy Horschel and Corey Nagy. “[I was] wondering if he was going to make [a comeback]. When he didn't, I just think of it as dodging a bullet and going on to the next tee and try to win it.”
Newman, who is the No.2 player on the two-time Big Ten Champion Michigan State team, gained control of the match in the afternoon round by winning the 9th, 10th and 11th holes with pars to take a 4-up advantage.
“I’m a true believer in some things just not happening,” said Chin, a two-time All-Big West first-team choice. “Nos. 9, 10 and 11 was just my calling to say it's just not your day. He played well no doubt about it. It just wasn't my day."
Following three straight halved holes, Chin made a mistake at the match’s 33rd hole, the par-5 15th hole.
Chin, the longer driver of the two, hit his tee shot in the right-side lateral water hazard after Newman had driven in the fairway. Knowing he had the match in hand, Newman, the first Iowan to win the Public Links, played it safe and laid up short of the green on his second shot. His third shot landed 27 feet.
Chin did not reach the green until his fifth shot and then he missed a 30- foot putt from the fringe and conceded Newman’s birdie, ending the match.
Despite not winning, Chin’s reaching the final of his first USGA championship is a major accomplishment.
"I can play with the best amateurs in the world,” Chin said. “On paper, on record, on stats, I haven't shown it much. After this week, I am a true believe in that.”
In the morning, Newman overcame an early two-hole deficit after the 4th hole to take a 1-up lead, which changed hands three times. He maintained his lead with dramatic play on the 18th hole. After Chin had stuck an iron shot to three feet for a nearly sure birdie, Newman drained an expected 30-foot birdie putt to halve the hole.
“I made some really good putts [in the morning],” said Newman, a second-team All-Big Ten pick in 2008. “I think that sort of stunned John. I made a few putt that were really, really nice.”
Quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2009 Amateur Public Links Championship at Jimmie Austin Golf Course in Norman, Okla., July 13-18. The finalists are also exempt for the 2009 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort and Country Club from August 18-24.
The Amateur Public Links Championship is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. The Public Links has been contested since 1922 and is for competitors who do not hold private club or course membership and who have a USGA Handicap Index of 4.4 or less.