June 22, 2010
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland men's golfer senior Tom Hanna III qualified for the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, a prestigious tournament for players of public courses. The championship is set for July 12-17 at Bryan Park Golf Club in Greensboro, N.C.
Thousands enter, but only a fraction of those qualify to compete. Hanna carded a 70-73--143 at the Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Va., to make the cut in June.
The Bryan Park Champions course is 7,195 yards and plays a par of 35-36--71. The course was designed by Rees Jones and opened in 1990. It was newly voted a Top 50 Course 2010 by GolfWorld Reader's Choice.
Monday through Tuesday, July 12-13, is the stroke-play qualifying round. The 64 players with the lowest score through 18 holes will advance in to match play.
The winner of the Amateur Public Links Championship earns an invitation to the Masters Tournament. The historic invitation to the Masters for the champion of the Amateur Public Links began in 1989. Ralph Howe, who won in 1988, was the first Public Links winner to play in the Masters on that invitation. Thanks to the graciousness of Augusta National Golf Club that historical invitation has continued to be issued.
It has also been a springboard for the likes of U.S. Open champions Ed Furgol, Tommy Bolt, and Ken Venturi; British Open champion Tony Lema; PGA champions Dave Marr and Bobby Nichols; and Masters winner George Archer. In 1959, it produced the first African-American winner of a USGA championship in William A. Wright.
The championship's prime mover was James D. Standish Jr., of Detroit, who convinced his colleagues on the 1922 USGA Executive Committee that the time was right for such a grass-roots competition. Standish pointed to the public-course golfer, whose ranks were swelling following World War I, and to the growing number of municipal and daily-fee courses in America.
The first championship was conducted at the Ottawa Park Course in Toledo, Ohio. The USGA had no way of knowing how many players to expect, but a satisfying 140 entries were received. Less than half that number wore golf shoes. The first champion was Eddie Held of St. Louis, who joined a private club soon after his victory and thus became ineligible to defend his title in 1923.