SCGA member James Erkenbeck of San Diego fired a bogey-free round of 4-under par 67 Tuesday to claim medalist honors at the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. He finished with a one-stroke advantage over Talor Gooch and T.J. Vogel.
Erkenbeck credits his length and familiarity with altitude for his success. He is a rising senior at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, which is situated at 5,500 feet above sea level – the same elevation as Soldier Hollow.
“The course sets up good to my eye,” said Erkenbeck, 22. “The course isn’t playing super-long for me. I only hit two or three drivers today. If I can hit a pitching wedge or gap wedge into [the 540-yard 11th] where other guys are hitting 5- or 6-irons, it makes it a lot easier for me.”
The low 64 players advanced to match play, which began Wednesday morning, and 11 of those (17 percent) who qualified hail from Southern California, including frequent SCGA tournament players Manav Shah and Anton Arboleda.
Other SCGA members to advance into match player were Byron Meth, Xander Schauffele and Joseph Prince of San Diego, Aaron West of Woodland Hills, Paul Misko of Thousand Oaks and Jake Knapp of Costa Mesa. Knapp is recently familiar with match play, having just come off of a Rd. of 32 loss at the California Amateur Championship.
Follow along with live hole-by-hole scores from Wednesday's action here.