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Mills, Ernst each win two matches; Advance to Pub Links final

BANDON, Ore. – Qualifying medalist Corbin Mills and Derek Ernst each won two matches in windy conditions Friday to advance to the U.S. Amateur Public Links final on Bandon Dunes’ Old Macdonald course.

Mills, a 21-year-old Clemson player from Easley, S.C., beat University of Oregon player Andrew Vijarro, 4 and 3 in the morning quarterfinals, then topped Georgia’s Harris English, 5 and 3 in the semifinals to reach the 36-hole final.

“It was brutal,”Mills said. “I thought it would blow, but, man, it blew really hard. I’ve never played in wind like this. I mean the wind affected your putts.”

Derek Ernst, the Clovis, Calif., player who won the 2010 and 2011 Mountain West Conference titles for UNLV, routed Oregon player Daniel Miernicki, 6 and 4 in the quarterfinals, and beat former Ole Miss star Jonathan Randolph, 3 and 2 in the semifinals.

Mills, attempting to become the first qualifying medalist to win the title since former Clemson star D.J. Trahan in 2000, didn’t lose a hole in his quarterfinal victory over Andrew Vijarro.

“I made a lot of pars and with conditions like this, pars will win a lot of holes,” Mills said. “The wind dried the greens out and they were a lot faster today. I like them a lot.”

In his afternoon match, Mills jumped ahead early, winning Nos. 4 and 5 to take a 3-up lead in the 30 mph wind.

Ernst was 5-up through 11 in his semifinal victory.

“The wind really came into play, especially on No. 15,” Ernst said. “I think we spent 20 minutes between the two of us putting on that hole. The dunes had sand coming off them flying straight in your eyes. I had a 40-footer straight into the wind and I couldn’t see a thing.”

The tournament is limited to players who don’t hold privileges at any course that doesn’t extend playing privileges to the general public.