NORMAN, Okla. A trio of Sooners make up part of the 156-player field at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship beginning Monday morning at the Shaker Run Golf Club (par 70; 6.966 yards) in Lebanon, Ohio.
Two-time All-American Anthony Kim, Justin Fraley and Nick Sheedy will each be fighting for the 83-year-old James D. Standish Jr. Cup, as well as an exemption for the 2006 Masters Tournament at Augusta National.
The U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship has been an unqualified success since its inception in 1922, giving exposure to many public-course players who otherwise might not have an opportunity to compete in a national championship. The inaugural event drew 140 entrants, with less than half wearing golf shoes.
Today, the tournament attracts as many as 6,000 entries. While a majority of the field is comprised of high school and college students, the event still attracts bus drivers, bartenders, firemen, waiters, riveters, engineers and college professors.
The tournament begins with two 18-hole qualifying rounds of stroke play, one each Monday and Tuesday, with the lowest 64 scorers advancing to the first of three 18-hole match play rounds starting Wednesday. The champion will be crowned on Saturday with a final 36 holes of match play.
This year’s Amateur Public Links is missing its defending champion Ryan Moore, who turned pro earlier this year. However, a serious contender for the title is the only woman in the field 15-year-old phenom Michelle Wie, who nearly missed becoming the first woman in over 60 years to make the cut on a PGA TOUR event at last weekend’s John Deere Classic.
Kim, a favorite to win the event, tees off at 9 a.m. ET from the first hole. Fraley starts from 10 at 8:10 a.m. and Sheedy begins play at 12:20 p.m. from 1.
Oklahoma has history on its side regarding success in the tournament. Former Sooner Hunter Haas, now on the PGA TOUR, won the APL in 1999.