AURORA, Colo. (July 15, 2008)--Aaron Goldberg, 22, of Carlsbad, Calif., held off a late challenge Tuesday to claim medalist honors after two days of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship being played at Murphy Creek Golf Course. Goldberg shot a 4-under-par 67 for a 36-hole total of 132, edging Rickie Fowler, 19, of Murrieta, Calif., by a stroke.
Fowler shot the low round of the day, with a 5-under-par 66, but missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the last hole that would have tied him with Goldberg. Zachary Zaremba, 20, of Pueblo West, Colo., was three back at 135. Brian Locke, 21, of Los Angeles, Calif.; Corey Nagy, 19, of Charlotte, N.C.; and Brandon Crick, 20, of McCook, Neb., finished at 137
The low 64 scorers advance to match play Wednesday through Saturday. The 36-hole championship final is scheduled for Saturday, with the winner receiving an invitation to play in the 2009 Masters Tournament.
Nineteen players finished under par for the 36 holes. The cut for match play came at 5-over-par 147, with 10 players in a playoff to determine the final one spot for match play.
Goldberg’s round was highlighted with an eagle 2 with a 5-iron on the 528-yard par 4 13th hole. He also had three birdies on his last nine holes to shoot a 5-under-par 30.
“I hit a really good shot, but anytime the ball goes in from that far away there’s a bit of luck involved,” said the 2007 quarterfinalist who is a recent graduate of San Diego State University.
Fowler, a sophomore at Oklahoma State University and a member of the winning 2007 USA Walker Cup team, used an eagle 2 on the 10th hole to lift his spirits.
“It was pretty cool,” said Fowler. “I was trying to give Aaron a run for his money. When I tee it up, I’m always trying to be the low man.”
Fowler’s Walker Cup teammate Billy Horschel of Gainesville, Fla., and last year’s Public Links runner-up Cody Paladino of Kensington, Conn., were also among those who advanced to match play. Horschel finished at 2-under-par 140 and Paladino was at 1-over-par 143.
Brothers Pat and Jim Grady of Bloomfield, Colo., each advanced to match play as well, with totals of 143 and 145 respectively. Pat, the younger of the two brothers who is a senior at the University of Colorado, joked that he caught up his brother after years of playing in his shadow.
“He was recruited out of high school and I wasn’t,” said Pat. “But I’ve been smoking him pretty good the last three years.”
The Amateur Public Links Championship is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
--Story by Craig Smith, USGA