Six Share Clubhouse Lead For APL Medalist June 27, 2011 By Mike Trostel

Derek Ernst of Clovis, Calif., is one of six golfers at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship to post 4-over 145 through two stroke-play qualifying rounds at the Bandon Dunes Resort. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)

Bandon, Ore. – Six players share the clubhouse lead for medalist honors midway through Tuesday’s second and final round of stroke-play qualifying at the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

Derek Ernst, Talor Gooch, Ben Geyer, Anthony Degol, Kyle Beversdorf and Charlie Hughes all posted 4-over-par 145 totals after completing their rounds at 7,016-yard, par-71 Old Macdonald, one of two courses being used for the championship.

First-round leader Devon Purser of Clearfield, Utah, was among the 77 golfers who had afternoon starting times. Purser carded a 1-under 69 on Monday at Bandon Trails.

Nearly an inch of rain fell at the resort between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, softening conditions for the players.

Additionally, winds that gusted more than 30 miles per hour on Monday were comparatively calm on Tuesday morning, allowing for more favorable scoring conditions.

Six golfers, led by Alex Williams’ 69, broke par in the morning wave compared to just Purser’s effort on Monday. Williams and Purser are thus far the only players to register a round in the 60s.

Ernst, 21, of Clovis, Calif., who shot an even-par 70 at Bandon Trails, played his first three holes at four over before righting the ship to card a 75.

Already playing in his eighth USGA championship, Ernst has limited vision in his right eye due to an accident at age 8 while making his mother a Valentine’s Day gift using children’s toys and PVC pipe. The injury required 10 stitches and has left his eye with permanent scarring.

Hughes, 19, of Canada, is one of three players representing the University of Washington this week along with Chris Williams and Trevor Simsby.

We usually play Chambers Bay once or twice a year, said Hughes, who carded a 74. The layout is pretty similar, but it never plays as firm as it does [at Bandon Dunes].

He is no stranger to success at Bandon, having recorded his first college victory at the Bandon Dunes Championship three months ago. So Hughes came to the APL knowing he needed to adjust his game for this week’s blustery conditions.

I’ve been able to keep my ball out of the wind, said Hughes. I did that in March when I won the college event here. And I’ve been able to stick with it. I feel really comfortable in the wind.

Like Hughes, Geyer, 19, of Arbuckle, Calif., also played in the Bandon Dunes Championship in March. He took advantage of his morning time by collecting four birdies, including a 40-footer on the par-5 17th hole after he chunked a chip.

The conditions this morning were some of the best I’ve ever seen out here, said Geyer.

Before the championship, Geyer received a good luck text from Scott Hardy, his golf coach at St. Mary’s, who has also been successful in a USGA event at Bandon Dunes. Hardy was a semifinalist in the 2007 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

Degol, 21, of Hollidaysburg, Pa., bogeyed his first three holes on the inward nine, but parred his remaining holes for a 73.

A member of the Penn State golf team, Degol was unaccustomed to playing on a links-style course before this week’s championship. After the practice rounds, however, he quickly figured out a new strategy for the week.

I pretty much keep the sand wedges in the bag, said Degol. If you don’t have a good short game, you can come to a course like this and totally be lost. There’s a lot of putting and a lot of bump and runs.

Gooch, 19, of Midwest City, Okla., birdied three of his first five holes en route to a 73, while Beversdorf, 19, of Plymouth, Minn., played the par 4s at Old Macdonald in two under par in shooting a 72.

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s second round of stroke-play qualifying, the field will be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play, which begins Wednesday at Bandon Trails. The final five rounds of match play will be at Old Macdonald, including Saturday’s 36-hole final.

This year’s APL is being played concurrently at Bandon Dunes with the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship. The WAPL field played their second round of stroke-play qualifying at Bandon Trails on Tuesday. The WAPL field will begin match play at Old Macdonald on Wednesday.

Michael Trostel is the curator/historian at the USGA Museum. Email him at mtrostel@usga.org.