Jack Newman, 20, of Des Moines, Iowa, and a rising senior at Michigan State University, defeated left-hander John Chin, 21, of Temecula, Calif., 5 and 3, to win the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Murphy Creek Golf Course in Aurora, Colo. Newman had survived a pair of extra-hole matches – 21 against future PGA Tour winner Billy Horschel and 24 against Corey Nagy – to reach the 36-hole championship match. He held a precarious 1-up lead midway through the final and maintained that advantage through 26 holes. But he won Nos. 27-29 to go 4 up and then closed out Chin with a conceded birdie at the par-5 33rd hole. Newman turned pro in 2009 and has competed on the NGA, Adams and Dakotas tours, with his lone victory coming on the Adams Tour in Texas in 2013. The 26 year old qualified for the 2014 PGA Tour Canada earlier this year, where the top five on the money list earn playing privileges on the 2015 Web.com Tour.
Was there a moment from that week that stands out?
It was probably on the second playoff hole against Billy [Horschel]. I made a 15-footer for par to halve the hole. I think [I won the 21 st hole] by two-putting from about 15 feet and he three-putted from about 20 feet.
Were you in a zone that week?
I never really thought that, actually. I think match play keeps you from that because all you have is that next shot. As the mantra goes, it’s just one shot at a time and just see what [your opponent] does and play accordingly, whether it’s safe or whether it’s aggressive. At that time, I was hitting the right shots at the right time. If I needed to make a putt that week, it seemed like a putt fell.
On the eve of the championship match, was the Masters invitation weighing heavily on your mind?
I thought about it a little bit. Everybody would be lying if they didn’t. I was pretty nervous until my [older] brother [Andy] hopped on the bag. Once he hopped on the bag, the tide turned a little bit because I just felt a little more comfortable having somebody to talk to. And probably about the last three holes [of the final] I started thinking about it (Masters).
When did your brother arrive?
There were probably seven to 10 family members and friends that drove out from Des Moines, Iowa, the night before and got in the morning of the final. That was pretty fun [to have them there]. It was about a 10-hour drive.
Who caddied for you in the other matches?
I carried [my own bag] the whole time. Then in the semifinals, Randall Hutchison, who made it to the quarterfinals and lost, caddied for me. He was a teammate of mine at Michigan State.
What was the celebration like that night?
It was pretty fun. I wasn’t 21 at the time, so obviously I had to keep it under control. But everyone was pretty warped. We ended up going to a buddy’s place in town. So we were at his house for a little bit. People then went to sleep early and we got on the road about 10 o’clock that next morning.
Did they do anything for you at your home course in Des Moines?
Waveland Golf Course is one of my favorites in Des Moines. They usually host the men’s city championship every year. We brought the trophy over there for the guys to look at.
Is that victory one of your best memories in golf?
Oh for sure. There’s no doubt about it. That’s definitely at the top because then it led to some of my best memories of playing in the Masters.
As for the Masters, did you get a chance to play a practice round with native Iowan Zach Johnson?
I did on Monday. We played several holes. It was quite cold so we came in after about 15 or 16 holes. It was very neat. It was also cool to see another guy from Des Moines, Iowa, actually West Des Moines, play in the Masters this year, Mike McCoy.
Are you sad to see the APL being retired this year?
Yeah I am. It’s sad to see a spot taken away from an amateur to get into the Masters. But the USGA has a decent amount of people on their staff and I am sure they know what they are doing. I guess I will be one of the last ones to have won it.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer with the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.