Norman, Okla. – Qualifying medalist Nick Taylor, 21, of Canada, won his first round match, 6 and 4, over Craig Cyr, 25, of Concord, N.H., to advance to the second round of match play at the 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at the 7,289-yard, par-71 Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
Taylor, the low amateur at the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park, took advantage of an unfortunate situation when his opponent, Cyr, inadvertently stepped on his own ball on the 10th hole. It proved to be the pivotal moment in the match.
“It was back and forth the first seven or eight holes and then he got a bad break on 10 when he stepped on his ball,” said Taylor. “That kind of turned things because he got a little frustrated, which I would, too, obviously. But I was able to birdie the next hole, and then he bogeyed the next, which kind of swung it my way.”
Taylor, a junior at the University of Washington who finished tied for 36th at the U.S. Open and won the Sahalee Players Championship last week, will face Brett Munson, 22, of Louisville, Ky., in the second round Thursday.
Also advancing easily was Rickie Fowler, 20, of Murrieta, Calif., who won his match, 5 and 4, over James Erkenbeck of San Diego, Calif. Fowler, a member of the 2007 USA Walker Cup Team who recently completed his sophomore year at Oklahoma State University, continued to attract the largest galleries of the championship. He avenged his stumble at the 8th hole on Tuesday, where he made a quadruple-bogey eight in the stroke play qualifying, with a birdie today at the 505-yard par-4.
“I stayed away from making mistakes, and he made a few, which helped me win a couple of holes,” said Fowler. “I’ve only made two bogeys [this week], and a decent amount of birdies. So that’s where I think my game has gotten a lot better over the past few years and I’ve gotten really consistent…besides that quadruple bogey.”
Fowler, a two-time first team All-America and 2008 winner of the Ben Hogan Award as the top collegiate golfer in America, will face Alton Anderson Jr., 20, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., who won his match today in 19 holes.
Also advancing to the second round of match play was 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Champion Cameron Peck, 18, of Olympia, Wash., who rallied from 3-down at one point against Tommy Sikes, 21, of Midland, Texas, to win, 2 and 1. Peck will face Jake An, 19, of Korea, who won in 19 holes.
Peck, at 18 years and five days old is the youngest competitor still in the championship. The oldest is Josh Gregory, 34, of Augusta, Ga., who defeated last year’s semifinalist Corey Nagy, 20, of Charlotte, N.C., 1 up. Gregory is the men’s golf coach at Augusta (Ga.) State University and one of his players, junior Mitch Krywulycz, 21, of Australia, also advanced to the second round.
The University of Oklahoma coach-player duo of Phillip Bryan, 23, of Norman, Okla., and Liam Logan, 20, of Fort Worth, Texas, also advanced to the second round. Bryan, a four-year member of the Oklahoma golf team, is now the assistant coach and Logan, a junior, was the only Oklahoma golfer to play in every event last season.
The U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, established in 1922 for bona fide public course players, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.