July 19, 1999
NORMAN, Okla. - The University of Oklahoma's Hunter Haas captured the 1999 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship over the weekend and will now delay his plans to turn professional. Haas completed his march to the Publinx title with a 4 and 3 victory over Michael Kirk of Las Vegas in Saturday's 36-hole final.
The victory gives Haas an automatic exemption to the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links, and also the 2000 Masters. However, to accept these invitations, Haas must remain an amateur for now.
"I was planning on turning professional next month, but I guess I'll wait until I play in these events," said Haas. "I was hoping to play in professional events while finishing up my degree, but to have a spot already guaranteed in the U.S. Amateur and the Masters is something I can't pass up. If I play in some professional events, I guess it will need to be on some kind of exemption."
The 22-year old Haas, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, finished his college eligibility in May but will enroll at OU this fall and complete his degree in sociology.
Between the 36-hole qualifier and match play, Haas made 47 birdies and two eagles in 141 holes on the Spencer T. Olin Community Golf Course in Alton, Ill. He had 11 birdies in 33 holes during Saturday's final.