Horner tied for fourth at Publinks

Jul 9 2012 - 9:51pm

MIDWAY -- Utahn Dan Horner wasn't fazed by the young guns dotting the Publinks leaderboard.

Jace Long and Cheng-Tsung Pan carded rounds of 4-under 67 to set the pace in the first round of stroke-playing qualifying at the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links at Soldier Hollow Golf Course.

Long, 22, and Pan, 20, were two of 17 golfers to break par on the par-71, 7,670-yard layout. Sunny skies and calm winds allowed for ideal scoring on a layout featuring length, elevation changes, slick greens and knee-high rough in some areas.

Long, from Dixon, Mo. carded a first-round-best eight birdies in the morning.

Pan, who moved to Chinese Taipei just five years ago, took just nine strokes to play Soldier Hollow's four par 3s during the afternoon.

James Erkenbeck, who advanced to the round of 16 in last year's APL, sits one stroke behind the leaders at 68.

The 34-year-old Horner, who won the 2008 Utah State Amateur at Soldier Hollow's Silver Course, opened with a 2-under 69 in the morning wave.

"One of the guys in my group asked me what college I played for," said Horner, who lives in Sandy. "I told him 'Dude, I'm 34.' "

Horner shot the lowest score among non-student-age players. He's tied with Justin Keiley, a Hawaii native who is a junior-to-be at BYU, at 2-under-par.

"I enjoy the competition, especially with a field like this with a lot of strong college kids," said Horner, who for the record graduated from Rutgers University in 2001 before moving from New Jersey to Utah. "You get to test your game against some great competition."

The average age in the Publinks is 23.6.

Although the building-materials salesman is giving up more than a dozen years to the top competitors, he can rely on a big advantage: local knowledge. Horner estimates he has played Soldier Hollow more than anyone else in the field -- combined.

"I know the lines," he said. "I know what the greens do. I can make confident swings where other guys might be second-guessing."

Ogden's Zac Blair is also in good shape with an opening-round 71. Weber State golfer Ty Travis, an Idaho native, is at 72.

J.T. Timmons shot 74, while Nick Drost shot 76 in the afternoon. Another BYU golfer, Adam Tebbs, is at 75.

The 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links is the first USGA championship held in Utah.

The field will play the second round of stroke-play qualifying today, then the field will then be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play, which begins Wednesday.

* TOURNAMENT NOTES: The APL is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association. It's the first ever to be staged in Utah. ... The youngest player is 14-year-old Taisei Negishi of Hilo, Hawaii. The oldest is Steve Groom, 54, of Raytown, Mo. He's qualified for the event nine times.

Utah Championship Monday qualifier

* FOURTEEN QUALIFY FOR UTAH CHAMPIONSHIP: At Glen Eagle Golf Course in Syracuse, 90 golfers shot under par but it took 6-under par to earn a spot in this week's Web.com Utah Championship following Monday's open qualifying.

Brian Prouty shot a 62, with Mark Johnson at 63. A bunch of golfers shot 66, with only two of them advancing in a playoff.

Farmington's Clay Ogden and Sandy's Steve Schneiter were a shot out of the playoffs with impressive 67s.

The tournament begins on Thursday at Willow Creek Country Club. Twenty-two of the top 25 players on Tour committed to play in the $550,000 tourney. For information on tickets and volunteer opportunities, visit www.utahchampionship.com.

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