College Adviser: No Publinx, no problem

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 13, 2013, 6:11 pm

The U.S. Amateur Public Links will not be played after 2014, which has created considerable consternation amongst a golf community that likely doesn’t know who played in last year’s men’s final. (Answer: T.J. Vogel over Kevin Aylwin, in a rout.)

Bad p.r. or not, the USGA correctly determined that the Publinx no longer served its original purpose, which was to offer a landing spot for golfers who were not members of USGA clubs. That changed in 1979.

And so, too, has the amateur landscape.

In recent years the Publinx has been dominated by college players, many of whom have gone on to successful pro careers, while others simply became a useless bit of trivia for dimpleheads. Since 2000, only four men (Brad Benjamin, Colt Knost, Casey Watabu, Brandt Snedeker) have won the event while not still enrolled in college – and those players had graduated only a few months prior. 

The truth is, the Publinx had become just another big-time amateur event in a summer full of them.

In a three-month span, elite amateurs can pick and choose their schedule with such premier events as the Western Amateur, Sunnehanna Amateur, Northeast Amateur, Porter Cup, Sahalee Players, Dogwood Invitational and Pacific Northwest Amateur.

In this crowded landscape, the Publinx’s demise simply makes the U.S. Amateur that much more prestigious. At least the casual fan has a chance of remembering those winners.

Here’s what else happened this week on campus:

• As predicted here, the Amer Ari Invitational came down to a playoff between top-10 teams UCLA and Washington, with the Bruins prevailing in sudden death for their second team title of the season. Auburn senior Dominic Bozzelli captured medalist honors, finishing at 11-under 205 for the All-American’s third career individual title.

• On Sunday, Florida State and sophomore Daniel Berger rolled into rival Gainesville and captured the SunTrust Gator Invitational for the first time since 1981. The Seminoles won by 15 shots at Mark Bostick Golf Course, with host Florida finishing in fourth, 19 shots behind. The Gators struggled with reigning Publinx winner T.J. Vogel (sports hernia) and Tyler McCumber (flu-like symptoms) still on the mend.

• Iowa State’s Scott Fernandez, ranked 10th in the nation by Golfstat, tied for third at this week’s UTSA Invitational. The sophomore has now finished in the top 3 in each of the four tournaments he has played this season. 

• Washington sophomore Cheng-Tsung Pan remains the No. 1 player in Golfstat’s individual rankings, followed by UCLA senior Pontus Widegren, Cal sophomore Michael Kim, Washington junior Trevor Simsby and Kent State junior Corey Conners. Alabama sophomore Justin Thomas, the reigning NCAA Player of the Year, is ninth.

Here are the top 10 men’s teams in the country, as ranked by Golfstat (click here for the full rankings): 

1. California: The Golden Bears, who won their first five events of the season, make their next start at the Feb. 20-22 John Burns Intercollegiate.

2. UCLA: The Bruins jumped from fourth to second after their most impressive performance to date, a playoff victory over Washington at the Amer Ari Invitational, which boasted seven of the top 15 (and nine of the top 25) teams in the country. Senior Pontus Widegren led UCLA with a T-4 finish.

3. Texas: The Longhorns dropped a spot in the rankings after a fourth-place showing in Hawaii, but should be encouraged by the T-4s posted by Cody Gribble and freshman Brandon Stone. 

4. Washington: Rose three spots in the rankings, even though the Huskies didn’t get the win at the Amer Ari. Washington had three players in the top 10, led by Trevor Simsby’s T-2, and world No. 1 amateur Chris Williams finished in a share of 20th.

5. New Mexico: The Lobos, who won their spring opener in Arizona, return to action at next week’s John Burns Intercollegiate.

6. Alabama: The Crimson Tide’s spring season gets under way Sunday, at the Puerto Rico Classic.

7. Florida: The Gators suffered the biggest fall of the week after a disappointing fourth-place finish at their home tournament, after which head coach Buddy Alexander sighed, “We didn’t have anything this week.' 

8. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets held tight in the standings despite a mediocre performance in Hawaii, where only one player, Anders Albertson (T-10), finished in the top 10. 

9. Georgia: The Bulldogs leapfrogged USC without hitting a shot. They begin their spring season Sunday at the Puerto Rico Classic. 

10. USC: The Trojans rallied after a dismal first day at the Amer Ari to finish in a tie for fourth there. Anthony Paolucci led USC with a T-10 finish individually. 

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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off Olesen to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

“I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

“It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.