Three golfers to represent Utah at U.S. Public Links Championship at Soldier Hollow
MIDWAY — Nick Drost, John Timmons and Dan Horner will represent Utah in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship to be held July 9-14 at Soldier Hollow Golf Course, the first United States Golf Association championship ever to be held in Utah.
Drost earned medalist honors at the 36-hole qualifying round at Glen Eagle Golf Course June with rounds of 66-68--134. Timmons was close behind with rounds of 67-69--136.
Dan Horner, a former Utah State Amateur champion, edged Kyle Chappell in a playoff for the third qualifying spot. Both players finished the 36-hole qualifier at 138. Chappell became the first alternate. Clay Bingham is the second alternate.
For Drost and Timmons, the Public Links will be their first experience playing in a USGA national championship.
Drost, who recently completed his playing eligibility at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, has a renewed focus on golf after a disappointing college golf season.
"After the way my college golf ended, without an individual medalist victory and our team missing out on regionals, I recommitted myself to playing good golf," said Drost. "I wrote down some goals for my first four tournaments of the year; get a win, finish within the top five in every event and qualify for the Public Links. I won three of the four (Valley View Amateur, Salt Lake City Amateur, Public Links Qualifying) and came in fifth at the Provo Open. I think this summer is the first time I really believe that I am one of the best amateurs in Utah. I am proud of what I have done and I am hungry for more."
According to Timmons, the championship will be a highlight of his golfing career so far.
"Up to now, (qualifying), by far, is my greatest accomplishment in golf," said Timmons. "I feel good about being able to play well at Soldier Hollow. I played well there last year in the Utah State Amateur. I know the competition will be tough and I will just take it one hole at a time."
The honor of being a Utah qualifier is not lost on Drost, either.
"I am excited to represent Utah in its first USGA National Championship. Now that I have qualified I don't want to be satisfied with just being there. I want to make match play and go from there."
Homer is the most seasoned and accomplished of the three Utah qualifiers. He won the 2008 Utah State Amateur at Soldier Hollow and has competed in 10 USGA National Championships with his best finish coming in last year's U.S. Mid Amateur at Shadow Hawk Golf Club in Richmond, Texas, when he advanced to the second round of match play.
Horner has won all of the major tournaments within the Utah Golf Association's championship schedule during his career, but having the chance to compete in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship on his home turf is special.
"Qualifying for this event was certainly one of my goals this year," said Homer. "It is fun to be a part of the excitement generated around Utah's first USGA event. I believe I have the game and course knowledge to be very competitive, but I better bring everything I have with this quality of field."
Horner may have some local knowledge, but he's not counting on it to make it to the weekend of championship week.
"I have had some nice experiences at Soldier Hollow, but I don't feel that brings any extra pressure. Most likely I will have played more rounds at this course then the other competitors, but after a couple of days they will adapt to the altitude and the course. You have to drive the ball in play at Soldier Hollow; otherwise you will be bailing hay all day."
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