Watabu Cruises to Publinx Crown


USGABREMERTON, Wash. -- Casey Watabu rolled to a 4-and-3 win over Anthony Kim in Saturday's 36-hole final at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
Watabu, who needed 20 holes to beat Tim Feenstra in the semifinals, never trailed in the final and led by as many as 7-up.
The 21-year-old Kim, who was a member of the victorious 2005 USA Walker Cup team, rolled into the finals with a 6-and-5 win over Kevin Larsen in the semis.
Watabu, who is a recent graduate of the University of Nevada, opened with a birdie on the first. Kim battled back to even the match with a birdie of his own on the third at Gold Mountain Golf Club. However, that was the only hole Kim would win in the opening 18.
The 22-year-old Watabu regained a 1-up lead thanks to Kim's bogey on the par-3 fifth. The duo halved the next six holes before Watabu extended his lead to 2-up at the 12th.
Kim, who was the medalist at the 2005 Public Links Championship, bogeyed 13 and another bogey at the par-3 16th left him 4-down. Watabu birdied the 18th to head to the afternoon session with a 5-up cushion.
Watabu quickly padded his lead once the afternoon session began. The Hawaiian birdied each of the first two holes to stretch his lead to 7-up through 20 holes.
Kim, a senior-to-be at the University of Oklahoma, poured in three birdies in a four-hole span from the 22nd hole to cut his deficit to 4-down. They halved the next three holes, though.
Watabu birdied the 29th to go back 5-up. Kim, trying to fight off being closed out, birdied the 32nd hole to get back to 4-down with four to go.
The match was over one hole later when the finalists both made pars.
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