Today, we are pleased to welcome members of the USGA and 45 players of The U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship qualifier to Purgatory Golf Club. Often referred to as the Public Links or the Publinx, this tournament was created as a championship for golfers who play on public courses, as members of private clubs are not eligible to compete. The first Public Links was held in 1922 at the Ottawa Park Course in Toledo, Ohio and has grown as an event from 140 entries in 1922 to a record number, 6,300 entries in 1998; this year, 3,020 entries were accepted. This is the final year for the public links tournament as it will be replaced by a new men’s amateur four-ball championship.
Entrants must follow the USGA’s guidelines for amateur status; therefore anyone who has ever played or taught golf for money is ineligible. The Public Links has no age limit, is open to men and women, and players must have a USGA men’s handicap index of 4.4 or lower. Each player must then qualify to play in the U.S. Amateur Public Links by playing one of many qualifying tournaments held at sites around the country, such as Purgatory Golf Club. Today, the players will participate in 36 holes of stroke play. Two golfers will then advance to the championship at Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Virginia in July. The 64 qualifiers will compete in three rounds of stroke play. The top sixteen players will then move on to single-elimination match play. The winner of the event will earn an invitation to the next year’s Masters, so long as he/she is still an amateur at the time of The Masters.
In 2005, the event received an unusually large amount of media attention as 15-year-old Michelle Wie became the first woman to advance to the match-play portion of the tournament, where she lost in the quarterfinals to Clay Ogden, who went on to win the tournament. Other notable players include Public Links Champion, Trevor Immelman, winner of the 2008 Masters Tournament, as well as his playing partner in the final round Brandt Snedeker.
PS. This article was written by Abbi Magsamen, not Tenna. We’re having some technical glitches so I was unable to get her set up as an author, but will strive to do so for her next brilliant article. Thank you Abbi!