NEWTON, Kan. – Before Doug Ghim hit his tee shot on the 18th hole during his semifinal match of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship against Michael Gellerman on Friday, Ghim’s father and caddie, Jeff, could sense that his son was not quite prepared to hit a potentially match-deciding shot.
Jeff asked his son: Do you want a hug?
Doug walked over and embraced his father before striping a drive into the fairway and winning the hole – and the match.
The following day, Ghim was all square against Byron Meth after 36 holes of the championship. As Meth was hitting his drive on the 37th hole – Sand Creek Station Golf Course’s par-5 10th – Doug waited at the side of the teeing ground with his arm around his father.
Doug hit the fairway, but he hit his second shot into a water hazard to lose the hole and the match.
Win or lose, Ghim has drawn comfort and strength from his father – both emotionally and physically. As Doug’s teacher, Jeff has developed and nurtured his son’s game since he was 5.
No one knows me better than my father, said Ghim, 18. He knows when I start walking faster, when I start getting ticked off. Especially in match play, when the momentum switches back and forth a lot, there will be times where you feel like you’re in control, and times where you start losing it. And those times are where my dad comes in. And he’s been really great this week.
In addition to having his father by his side, Ghim had his mother, Susan, and his older sister, Deborah, walking every hole of every match. In addition to sharing hugs with his father, Ghim had a ritual with Deborah.
She hadn’t watched him play in a golf tournament since he was a freshman in high school, so they concocted a special handshake that they would use after every hole that Ghim won – a total of 38 times this week.
My family is the only reason I made it to 37 holes today, to come back from 3 down yesterday [in the semifinals against Gellerman], and to be able to get through Niebrugge [in the third round], said Ghim. Without them I don’t think could have done it. They provide moral support, and there’s nothing more that I could ask for.
Welcome to the Club
Byron Meth joins a long, distinguished list of U.S. Amateur Public Links champions. Here are some of the most notable winners:
· The first champion, in 1922, was Edmund Held, 19, of St. Louis. He defeated Richard J. Walsh, 6 and 5, in the final.
· The winner from 1927 through 1929, Carl Kauffmann, is one of just three males to win the same USGA championship in three consecutive years, joining Willie Anderson (U.S. Open, 1903-05) and Tiger Woods (U.S. Junior Amateur, 1991-93; U.S. Amateur (1994-96).
· 1959 champion Bill Wright was the first African American to win a USGA championship.
· Two pairs of brothers have won the APL. Charles and Randyn Barenaba won in consecutive years, 1973 and 1974. Four years after Eddie Mudd won the 1976 championship, his brother, Jodie, won the 1980 championship before repeating the following year.
· The youngest winner is Robert Lunn, who was 18 years, 2 months and 18 days when he won in 1963, one day younger than Randyn Barenaba.
· The oldest champion is Verne Callison, who was 48 when he won in 1967.
· There have been four foreign-born APL champions: Warren Schutte (1992), Tim Clark (1997) and Trevor Immelman (1998), who were from South Africa; and Lion Kim (2010), who was born in the Republic of Korea.
· Immelman went on to win the 2008 Masters.
· The largest winning margin in a championship match is Jim Sorenson’s 12-and-11 victory over Jay Cooper in 1985.
· Three champions – Billy Mayfair (1987), Ryan Moore (2002, 2004), Colt Knost (2007) – also won the U.S. Amateur.