AURORA, Colo. (July 18, 2008)--Jack Newman, 20, of Des Moines, Iowa, and John Chin, 21, of Temecula, Calif., each won two matches Friday to advance to the 36-hole final of the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Murphy Creek Golf Course.
Newman, the No. 2 player on the Michigan State team which won the 2007 and 2008 Big Ten titles, outlasted 2007 semifinalist Corey Nagy of Charlotte, N.C., in 24 holes, in the morning quarterfinals. He followed with a 3-and-1 win over Cason Hammock, 23, of Columbus, Ga., in the semifinals.
“It was good ball striking in the beginning,” Newman said of his quick start in the semifinals which gave him a 4-up lead through six holes. “I made a couple of five- or six- footers and dropped a long one, probably 20-30 feet, on No. 4.”
Newman lost Nos. 13, 14 and 15 to see his advantage slip to 1 up. He then won the 16th and 17th holes and the match when Hammock hit both tee shots in hazards as the Michigan State junior made two pars.
The left-handed Chin is the 2008 Big West Conference Player of the Year. He beat Jeff Dennis of Jacksonville, Fla., 4 & 3, in the quarterfinals before defeating David Johnson, 21, of Palm Bay, Fla., by the same score in the semifinals.
“When I am up a hole or up a couple of holes, I have to keep telling myself that it’s all square and that I am playing this guy and we are playing this hole as if the match was straight up,” Chin said of the fact he has not trailed in a match since the first round. “That mentality has helped me stay focused and do what I have to do to keep winning holes.”
Against Johnson, Chin won two of the first three holes and gained a 4-up lead after 13 holes. He lost the 14th after hitting his tee shot in the water but won the par-5 15th and the match with a conceded eagle.
Both players are aware of what awaits them if they win the James D. Standish Jr. Cup.
“You’re lying if you are not thinking about going to the Masters,” said Newman of the invitation traditionally given to the Public Links winner. “If would be a great experience but there’s 36 holes left.”
Newman, a second-team All-Big Ten pick in 2008 who won the 2008 Western Intercollegiate, carried his own bag through the quarterfinals, including 21- and 24-hole matches. He then enlisted his college teammate and fellow quarterfinalist Randall Hutchison, who was eliminated by Hammock, for the caddie duty. Hutchison is not available for the final and Newman is unsure of his plans for carrying the bag.
“I just want to go out there and have fun,” said Newman. “There is a whole caravan of Newmans coming out tonight – all my siblings. I’ll just go out there and free wheel it. The only pressure you have is what you put on yourself.”
Chin, playing in his first USGA championship is a two-time first-team All-Conference choice.
“I will take it like I have nothing to lose," he said of Saturday's finale. "That’s what you do in match play.”
The 36-hole championship final is set for Saturday, with the winner earning a traditional invitation to play in the 2009 Masters Tournament.
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.
--Story written by Pete Kowalski, USGA Media Relations