Taylor To Play For U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship
July 17, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. -- Husky golfer Nick Taylor won twice on Friday to advance to the finals of match play in the 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla.
Taylor, the world's No. 1 ranked amateur, beat Phillip Bryan, 3 and 2, in the afternoon semifinals and will face Brad Benjamin in Saturday's 36-hole final, which begins at 5 a.m. PT.
The semifinal match drew the largest gallery of the tournament and pitted Taylor against the hometown favorite Bryan, who played collegiately for Oklahoma and is currently the team's assistant coach.
Bryan drew first blood and went 1 up after Taylor bogeyed No. 2. Bryan's lead would not last long though, as Taylor responded two holes later on the par-4 No. 4 by netting a par, while Bryan bogeyed. Taylor extended his lead on the next two holes by scoring birdie on the par-5 fifth hole and tapping in a par, while Bryan bogeyed No. 6.
With Taylor holding a 2 up lead, the pair halved the next four holes, before the Huskies' All-American extended his lead by parring No. 11, while Bryan bogeyed. Two holes later, Taylor all but ended the match by birdieing the par-5 13th hole to extend his lead to 4 up with five holes remaining.
Bryan fought back on No. 15 by birdieing the par-3, 281-yard hole and closing the gap to three holes with three remaining. But, Taylor's lead proved to be too big and he closed the match on No. 16 after both players notched pars.
In the morning's quarterfinal round, Taylor beat Wesley Bryan (no relation to Phillip), 2 and 1. Bryan, who is entering his sophomore year at the University of South Carolina, provided Taylor his toughest match to date during the tournament.
The pair halved the first four holes before Taylor struck the first blow on the 621-yard, par-5 fifth hole with a birdie to Bryan's par. Taylor would increase his lead on No. 7 when Bryan bogeyed the 434-yard, par-4 hole, while Taylor scored par.
Once again, the pair halved the next four holes to keep Bryan within striking distance of Taylor. But, on the par-3 12th hole, Bryan found trouble and bogeyed, while Taylor remained steady and scored par to extend his lead to 3 up.
The next three holes were a see-saw battle back-and-forth. Bryan sliced into Taylor's lead when he scored a birdie on the par-5 No. 13, but gave it right back on No. 14 when he bogeyed. Taylor let Bryan back in the match on No. 15 when he bogeyed the par-3 hole to go 2 up with three holes left to play. Both Taylor and Bryan scored par on the next two holes to give Taylor the 2 and 1 win.
Taylor is attempting to become the second-ever Washingon Husky golfer to win the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. Michael Combs (1987-90) won the title in 1990 and was runner up in 1991.