USGA Publinx- Wie in Match Play; Kim Medalist

Lebanon, Ohio – Anthony Kim, 20, of La Quinta, Okla., carded a 5-under-par 65 on Tuesday for a 36-hole total of 4-under 136 to earn stroke-play medalist honors by two strokes over three other golfers at the 2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship being played at the 6,966-yard, par-70 Shaker Run Golf Club.

The junior-to-be at the University of Oklahoma was a first-team All-American this past season and he earned Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year honors two years ago.

Kim’s total was two better than 2004 APL medalist Danny Green of Jackson, Tenn., Rodney Hamblin Jr. of St. Paul, Minn., and reigning U.S. Junior champion Sihwan Kim of Fullerton, Calif., who was born in Korea. Green, the second-oldest competitor in the field at age 48 and the 1999 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion as well as a veteran of 39 individual USGA competitions, also posted a 65 in the morning wave to get to 2-under 138.

Hamblin (68) and Sihwan Kim (69) played in the afternoon with Anthony Kim when the conditions were much more difficult as the winds gusted to as high as 25 mph. Three other players finished at 1-under 139: 2004 U.S. Amateur semifinalist Jeff Overton of Evansville, Ind. (69-69); Ryan Spears of Del City, Okla. (71-68) and Justin Metzger of Lenoir City, Tenn. (71-68). Matt Savage of Louisville, Ky., posted a 3-under 67 to join a group of three golfers at even-par 140.

Michelle Wie, 15, of Honolulu, Hawaii, the first female to qualify for a USGA men’s championship, posted a 2-over 72 and qualified for match play at 8-over 148. She will take on Will Claxton, 23, of Swainsboro, Ga., a 2004 APL quarterfinalist, in the first round on Wednesday at 11:18 a.m. Claxton posted 140 in stroke play (72-68).

Chase Baldwin of Plant City, Fla., also came in at even-par 140 (69-71). First-round co-leaders Chan Song of Atlanta, Ga., and Garrett Jones of Rewey, Wis., both struggled with rounds of 76 (142) and 75 (141), respectively.

Ten golfers played off for the final seven spots in the match-play bracket. The qualifiers were Tyler Neal of Tucson, Ariz., Ki Moon of Ellicott, Md., Clay Ogden of West Point, Utah, Nathan Colson of Milwaukee, Wis., Charles Etienne Boucher of Canada, Royden Heirakuji of Makawao, Hawaii and Roger Welch of Benedict, Md.

One of the notable first-round matches will pit ex-University of Florida teammates Duke Butler IV of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., against Matt Every of Daytona Beach, Fla. Butler just graduated in May, but the two are rooming together this week. Every was the low amateur at the 2005 U.S. Open and a strong candidate for the 2005 USA Walker Cup team. They play at 12:30 p.m.

Among the notables missing the cut were two-time defending APL runner-up Dayton Rose of Midwest City, Okla. (75-75—150), 2004 U.S. Amateur runner-up Luke List of Ringgold, Ga. (76-75—151) and NCAA Division I first-team All-American Ryan Blaum of Coral Gables, Fla. (77-75—152).

Match play continues at the championship through Saturday’s 36-hole final.

Kim is no stranger to match play or USGA championships. This is his sixth, but he has yet to advance past the second round. Four times he has lost in the second round, including the 2004 U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot when Chris Nallen was six under after seven holes in a 7-and-6 defeat to the former NCAA All-American.

“I haven’t played poorly in match play,” said Kim, who won the 2004 Northeast Amateur and was 12th in this year’s event. “I have just gotten beat by some guys who were hot.”

As for being the medalist and the top seed for match play, Kim said it doesn’t matter. “I’ve been the No. 2 seed and lost (at the 2002 Amateur at Oakland Hills) and I have been the No. 64 seed and lost (1999 U.S. Junior at York Country Club).

“You just have to play smart and if you make a couple of putts, you can go pretty low out here,” continued Kim. “I didn’t putt very well on my first nine. I missed probably four putts inside eight feet and still shot even 35.”

Kim birdied three of his last four holes to post a 5-under 30. At his final hole, the par-4 ninth, he chipped in from 18 feet.

Wie opened her round with three bogeys through her first seven holes, but then made three consecutive birdies at 17, 18 and 1 to get back to even for the day. She hit a 4-iron from 200 yards to 17 and two-putted from 60 feet for birdie. At 18, she nailed a 6-iron to 15 feet and at the par-5 first hole, her 3-wood approach came up 30 yards short and she chipped to 9 feet. She also birdied the sixth by landing a pitching-wedge approach to 9 feet. She missed a short birdie at nine.

On Monday, she shot a back-nine 41 to wind up with a 76. She improved that number by five strokes a day later.

“The back nine was still fresh in my mind so I think that helped a lot,” said Wie. “I just had a couple of stupid errors [early in the round] and I just had to refocus after that.”

As for match play, Wie added: “I know it will be a lot more intense.”

Green started on 10 and hit a 6-iron to 2 feet for his first of six birdies. He knocked a 5-iron to 18 feet at the par-3 14th and posted a 33 on his opening nine. He would add birdies at one (10-footer), two, (8-footer), five (10-footer) and nine (10-footer). He kept his round going with a 10-foot save on six after flopping a shot from the greenside rough.

“The golf course is a little quirky, but I like it,” said Green, the only player in USGA history to reach the championship match of the U.S. Amateur (1989), U.S. Mid-Amateur (’99) and APL (2001). “It’s a golf course where an older guy can do well on it. You’ve got to hit the ball straight. There are some wide open holes, but there’s enough tight holes and quirkiness around the golf course that I don’t think the key is to get up and just blow and go. It’s not like most of the Public Links golf courses we’ve played the last several years. It leads to my advantage here.”

Hamblin, playing in his first USGA event, posted three birdies against one bogey in his steady round. He lipped out an 8-foot eagle putt at 17.

“I’ve been hitting it well for about a year now,” said Hamblin, a quarterfinalist at the recently completed Iowa Match Play. “I just have not gotten a whole lot out of it. I’m seeing the improvement right now.”

Savage is no stranger to having good comeback during the second round of stroke-play qualifying at USGA events. At the 2003 U.S. Junior in Columbia, Md., he followed an 83 with a 66 to sneak into match play. At Shaker Run, he opened with a 73 and rallied for a 67. He was five under through 10 holes before giving a couple of shots back on 11 and 12.

“It was just two bad swings,” said Savage, who is headed to Florida State in the fall. “I finally went from a pull hook to a little cut today. I just felt like I couldn’t miss.

“I can’t wait for match play. I’m excited. If you are putting good in match play, it can go a long way. I feel as good about my putter right now as I have for a long time.”

Three players from Ohio advanced to match play: Scott Aker of Springfield (73-71), Steve Weir of Brunswick (71-73) and Jason Kokrak of Warren (76-71).

The U.S. Amateur Public Links is one of 13 national championships conducted by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

Story written by USGA staff writer David Shefter. E-mail him with questions or comments at dshefter@usga.org.


ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur Public Links

The U.S. Amateur Public Links is one of 13 national championships conducted by the USGA. It is designed for players who do not have playing privileges at a private club. See USGA website for details and complete description of eligibility requirements.

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