Defending champ advances in Public Links


Defending champion Jordan Niebrugge defeated Dou Zecheng of China, 4 and 2, in a rematch of their 2013 quarterfinal match, in the first round of match play at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in Newton, Kan.

''I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and kept the pressure on him,'' said Niebrugge, 20, a junior at Oklahoma State.

In other first-round action at Sand Creek Station Golf Course, three of the four co-medalists advanced. The only co-medalist to lose was Zane Thomas of Las Vegas, who was eliminated, 1 up, by Joshua Lee, a player who had had to chip in during a playoff just to make it to match play.

The other three co-medalists,  - Doug Ghim, of Arlington Heights, Ill.; Rico Hoey of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; and Byron Meth of San Diego - advanced easily. None of the three ever trailed in their matches.

Other first-round winners included 2013 APL medalist Garrett Rank of Canada; 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up Chelso Barrett of Surry, N.H.,; and 43-year-olds Jon Veneziano of Mount Dora, Fla., and Jess Bonneau of Houston.