Texas (TGA) Public Links Championship: McKay and Smith to meet in finals
SAN ANTONIO, TX (June 4, 2011) -- Calm conditions welcomed the quarterfinalists of the State Public Links which is being held at the historic Brackenridge Park Golf Course. The match play portion of the championship has seen thirty-two qualifiers now dwindled down to the final eight heading into this morning’s matches. After a day full of upset matches, all remaining players were primed to make their run at tomorrows final.
The first quarterfinal match had 31st seed, Will Aycock, paired against the 7th seeded, Justin McKay. Both players swapped birdies to begin the match before settling into a steady rhythm of pars. McKay took a 1up lead after an eagle on the par 5 thirteenth and never looked back, winning 2&1. Mitchell Griffin, the 14th seed, jumped out to an early 3up lead on the 6th seeded David Buchheit after the first three holes. Buchheit battled back to an all square standing after a birdie on the 13th but it wasn’t enough. After draining a twenty foot birdie putt on the fifteenth hole, Griffin took a 1up lead and eventually closed out the match with a 2&1 victory.
Matt Stephens took control of his match early as he jumped to a quick 3up lead on John Dukes. Dukes then battled back with birdies at nine and eleven to bring the match to all square. Dukes then won both twelve and thirteen to go 2up. Even with the back and forth momentum Stephens never lost composure. After a birdie on the par 4 sixteenth and a miscue by Dukes on the seventeenth, Stephens claimed his spot in the semifinals with a 2up victory. The final quarterfinal match paired Michael Smith against Curtis Reed. Smith gained a 5up lead after the twelfth and eventually closed with a 3&2 victory.
The afternoon semifinal matches paired Mitchell Griffin against Justin McKay and Michael Smith against Matt Stephens. In the first semifinal match Justin McKay struck late in the opening nine, making birdies on both the seventh and eighth holes giving him a comfortable 3up lead. Griffin fought hard on the back to close the gap, but McKay was just too much as he clinched his spot in the finals with a 3&2 victory. Michael Smith also jumped out to an early lead going 4up on the par 3 eighth hole. Even with two birdies late, Stephens could not match the stellar play of Smith who closed the match with a 4&3 victory.
The State Public Links is scheduled for 18 holes of stroke play qualifying on Thursday, June 2, with the low 32 players advancing to the match play portion of the championship. First and second round matches will be played on Friday. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played Saturday, with the finals on Sunday. Entries are open to male amateur golfers who are members of the Texas Golf Association, are residents of the state of Texas, and have a USGA Handicap Index of 8.4 or less. Additionally, all applicants must meet the USGA definition of a public golfer (i.e., applicants may not have held privileges of any course that does not extend playing privileges to the general public, or privileges of any private club maintaining its own course as of January 1, 2011).
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