Midway • No matter what happens from here on out at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, 20-year-old Alex Edfort is going to have one heck of a tale for his pals back in his hometown of Somerset, N.J., and his teammates on the other side of the country at University of the Pacific.
The story of how Edfort toppled stroke-play medalist James Erkenbeck, a University of New Mexico star and the No. 1 seed in match play, beats an episode of "Jersey Shore" any day of the week. Fuggedaboutit? No way.
U.S. Amateur Public Link Championship results
Alex Edfort, Somerset, N.J. (146) def. James Erkenbeck, San Diego (135), 21 holes.
Benjamin Griffin, Chapel Hill, N.C. (144) def. Justin Fraley, Allen, Texas (143), 1 up.
Zachary Blair, Ogden, Utah (140) def. Byron Meth, San Diego (145), 4 and 3.
Paul McConnell, Garland, Texas (145) def. Tyler Ekenberg, Apple Valley, Minn. (141), 2 up.
Brett Patterson, McMinnville, Tenn. (138) def. Joseph Prince, San Diego (146), 3 and 2.
Steven Fox, Hendersonville, Tenn. (142) def. Mitchell Rutledge, Creve Coeur, Mo. (144), 2 and 1.
Kevin Aylwin, New Smyrna Beach, Fla. (139) def. Jack Teal, Excelsior, Minn. (146), 19 holes.
Scott McNeil, Philadelphia (144) def. Seth Reeves, Duluth, Ga. (142), 20 holes.
Jace Long, Dixon, Mo. (137) def. Aaron West, Woodland Hills, Calif. (146), 2 and 1.
Kyle Beversdorf, Plymouth, Minn. (143) def. Chad Johnson, Plymouth, Mich. (144), 2 up.
Tyler Klava, Pace, Fla. (145) def. Casey Fernandez, McAlester, Okla. (140), 2 and 1.
Cody McManus, Phoenix (142) def. Ben Geyer, Arbuckle, Calif. (145), 1 up.
Michael Kim, Del Mar, Calif. (138) def. Wes Hillen, Columbia, Ill. (146), 5 and 4.
Payne Gniewek, Austin, Texas (143) def. Ryan Kuroiwa, Aiea, Hawaii (144), 3 and 2.
Garrett Rank, Canada (140) def. Zach Fullerton, Albuquerque (145), 2 and 1.
Carlos Rodriguez, Colombia (142) def. Joel Dahlenburg, Saint Augustine, Fla. (145), 3 and 2.
T. J. Vogel, Miami (136) def. Paul Misko, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (146), 1 up.
Greg Condon, Monte Vista, Colo. (143) def. Chelso Barrett, Keene, N.H. (144), 6 and 5.
Alex Williams, Seattle (145) def. Chris Williams, Moscow, Idaho (140), 2 and 1.
Anton Arboleda, La Canada, Calif. (141) def. Thomas O’Bryan, Aurora, Ill. (145), 6 and 4.
Jordan Wetsch, St. Charles, Ill. (138) def. Victor Kyatt, Hoover, Ala. (146), 20 holes.
Alberto Sanchez, Nogales, Ariz. (144) def. Michael Blair, Canada (142), 4 and 3.
Jacob Knapp, Costa Mesa, Calif. (146) def. Dan Horner, Sandy, Utah (140), 3 and 2.
Bryson Dechambeau, Clovis, Calif. (142) def. Cody Robinson, Discovery Bay, Calif. (144), 2 and 1.
Sam Saunders, Albuquerque (146) def. Talor Gooch, Midwest City, Okla. (136), 2 and 1.
orky Kemp, Greensboro, N.C. (143) def. Tommy Ponce, Edwardsville, Ill. (144), 3 and 1.
Justin Keiley, Haiku, Hawaii (140) def. Ryan Werre, Canada (145), 19 holes.
Brad Schneider, Orlando (141) def. Sam Horsfield, Davenport, Fla. (145), 4 and 2.
Cheng-Tsung Pan, Taiwan (138) def. Shane Smith, Godfrey, Ill. (146), 3 and 2.
Xander Schauffele, San Diego (143) def. Grant Weaver, Wooster, Ohio (144), 1 up.
Derek Ernst, Clovis, Calif. (140) def. Kirby Pettitt, Carroll, Iowa (145), 19 holes.
Richard Hattori, Honolulu (144) def. Manav Shah, Bakersfield, Calif. (142), 6 and 5.
Edfort completed a miraculous up-and-down for birdie after hitting his tee shot over the creek, but 40 feet right of the 18th green, to send the match into extra holes. He drained a long putt, approximately 50 feet, then watched Erkenbeck miss a 10-footer that would have won the match.
"That up-and-down, I don’t think I could do that another time with 100 balls," Edfort said, later adding that he "had a great feeling about [the putt], and just made it."
But he wasn’t finished. After Erkenbeck lipped out a 4-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole to give Edfort more life, Edfort made an eagle — sinking a 12-footer after sticking a 4-iron from 220 yards — on the third playoff hole, the 568-yard, par-5 third hole, to complete the upset.
"That’s match play," shrugged an emotionally drained Erkenbeck, who lost despite not making a bogey or worse in his final 39 holes of the tournament and shooting 7-under-par on Wednesday. "I think the dude was pumped up to play me, and didn’t have much to lose. … I just hope he can keep playing like that."
Most of the 32 matches Wednesday were close and competitive, as expected. Six went beyond 18 holes, including BYU rising junior Justin Keiley’s dramatic win over Canada’s Ryan Werre on the first playoff hole.
The collegians — Werre plays for Texas-San Antonio — went into the shortened, 305-yard par-4 18th hole all square, and both were close to the green after hitting 3-woods off the tee. After Werre sunk a 7-foot putt, Keiley stayed alive by getting a 6-footer to go on the last rotation.
"My nerves were going pretty good there," he said.
On the first playoff hole, Werre conceded Keiley’s 18-inch par putt, then saw his 5-footer circle the cup, but fail to drop.
"Let’s just say I got a pretty good headache," said a relieved Keiley, describing his mental state.
Keiley’s BYU teammate, Ogden’s Zac Blair, downed Edfort’s UOP teammate Byron Meth of San Diego 4 and 3 to advance, then watched Keiley also advance.
Sandy’s 34-year-old Dan Horner was eliminated 3 and 2 by Jacob Knapp, an 18-year-old phenom from Costa Mesa, Calif., who will play for UCLA this fall.
Keiley will face former Central Florida golfer Brad Schneider in the Round of 32 on Thursday at 9:10 a.m., while Blair will face Texas-Arlington’s Paul McConnell at 7:10 a.m.
Round of 16 matches will also be played Thursday, beginning at 12:30 p.m.
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