Brandt Snedeker, of Nashville, Tenn., birdied five of his last nine holes in defeating Dayton Rose, of Midwest City, Okla., 10 and 9, in the 36-hole championship match of the 2003 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, conducted at Blue Heron Pines Golf Club in Galloway Township, N.J. Snedeker, who had recently graduated from Vanderbilt University, where he earned All-America honors, helped Tennessee win the USGA Men’s State Team Championship that fall. He played in the 2004 Masters thanks to his APL victory, then turned professional and has become one of the world’s premier players with six PGA Tour victories, the last coming at the 2013 RBC Canadian Open. He has also represented the U.S. in one Ryder Cup (2012) and one Presidents Cup (2013).
What are your memories of the 2003 APL?
The thing I remember most was winning 10 and 9 [against Dayton Rose]. I was nervous the night before, having a chance to win and qualify for the Masters, and then when I played so well, I remember the excitement of it that I was just so much into the golf. To win 10 and 9, you have to do a lot of things right. Dayton actually played well, but I got up a couple early in the morning and then shot 30 on the first nine in the afternoon. I putted very well, but my iron game was just on fire. I hit everything great, especially my long irons. I don't think I ever hit my irons that solidly.
How did that win affect your golf career?
It was a huge win for me. I gained a lot of confidence from that and then to go play in the Masters, I saw how I stacked up against great players, which was really helpful because I was getting ready to turn pro right after the Masters. In the grand scheme of things, winning the APL really helped me launch my career after college.
Are you sad to see the APL being retired?
I thought it gave guys a real good chance of playing against quality competition and another opportunity to compete at match play. I thought it was a great championship. I feel a little bit of sadness that it's going away. One of the great things about the USGA is how it supports golf across the spectrum. It was support for everyday golf.
Obviously, you have strong feelings about public golf.
The APL was about the public golfer. It represented the idea of guys playing against each other on public courses all over the country. That’s why they started it, right? I thought that had a place in the game. I thought the game was better because of it.
Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites.