In the opening round of match play at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, Air Force golfer Tom Whitney (La Quinta, Calif.) defeated 40th-seed Zack Blair, 3 and 2. The 2009 U.S. Publinks are being held at the par-71, 7,289-yard Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman.
Blair, a native of Ogden, Utah, who will be attending Mountain West Conference rival BYU in the fall, took an early lead by winning the first hole. With Blair remaining at 1 up through the seventh hole, Whitney birdied the par-4 eighth hole to bring the match to All Square.
Whitney, seeded 25th, then took his first lead of the match with a birdie on the 10th hole, followed by birdies on holes 11 and 12. The two golfers fired par on each of the next four holes, to leave Whitney 3 up with two holes remaining, securing the victory.
Whitney, a rising senior for the Falcons, moves on to the second round of match play tomorrow, where he will face Chris Polski of Eugene, Ore. Polski, who entered match play as the 57th seed, defeated eighth-seed David McDaniel, 1 up, in Wednesday’s opening round.
Whitney and Polski are scheduled to tee off tomorrow morning at 7:18 (CT). The winner of their match will move on to tomorrow’s round of 16 against either Wesley Bryan or Hank Frame, with a 12:40 p.m. scheduled tee time.
The match play quarterfinals and semifinals are slated for July 17, while the 36-hole final round will be played Saturday, July 18. The winner of the tournament receives, among numerous qualifying exemptions, a likely invitation to compete in the next Masters Tournament.