SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah — Utah Valley University men's golfer Mason Casper birdied four of his final five holes at Talons Cove Golf Club and sank a 12-foot birdie putt on hole 36 to capture a qualifying spot in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
With the top two finishers moving on to the championship tournament in Lorton, Va., Casper fired a 72-68 over 36 holes to finish -4 for the day and just one shot back of winner David Cunningham. Both Casper and Cunningham shot even par over the first 18 holes, but they made a charge in the second 18 to catch and pass BYU's Jeff Jolley who had opened the tournament with a five-under 67.
The U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship is one of 10 individual amateur championships organized by the United States Golf Association and was first played in 1922. The tournament was devised for amateur golfers who play on public courses, and members of private clubs are barred from entry.
The USGA accepted 3,020 entries for the sectional qualifying leg of the Public Links tournament, and Casper is one of a field of 156 golfers to qualify for the championship rounds.
Laurel Hill Golf Club, a par-70 playing at 7,022 yards, is the site of this year's Public Links Championship. Play begins Monday, July 15, and will feature two rounds of stroke play before the field is whittled down to 64 golfers. From there, the championship will conclude with four rounds of match play to determine the champion.
Past winners of the Public Links include 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman and 2012 FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker.
This is the second time in Casper's amateur career that he has qualified for the championship round of a USGA event. Back in 2012, he competed in the USGA Mid-Amateur at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Ill.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.