July 15, 2000
Portland, Ore. – Medalist D.J. Trahan, 19, of Inman, S.C. will meet Ben Dickerson, 19, of Hilliard, Fla., in Saturday’s 36-hole match-play final at the 6,869-yard, par 72 Great Blue Course at Heron Lakes. The match begins at 7:30 a.m. PDT.The U.S. Amateur Public Links is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.The Amateur Public Links champion receives a gold medal, custody of the James D. Standish Jr. Cup, and an invitation to play in the 2001 Masters Tournament. Each finalist is exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Amateur this year at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey. Trahan, who was the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year as a Clemson freshman in 2000, defeated fellow South Carolinian Kyle Thompson, 21, of Columbia, 3 and 2, in their afternoon semifinal match. Dickerson, who lost in the first round of match play at last year’s championship, defeated 1999 runner-up Michael Kirk, 23, of South Africa, 1 up, in the other semifinal. Dickerson, who goes by the nickname “Bubba”, was a freshman at Florida in 2000. “First off, it’s a great feeling that I don’t have to qualify for the (U.S.) Am,” Trahan said. “It’s good to know that I’m going straight there. On top of that, to have the chance to win this championship (Saturday) is just an unbelievably good feeling. You can’t describe it. I’m extremely excited. I am pumped up.” A freshman All-American, who set the Clemson mark for scoring average at 72.48 this year, Trahan reached the final eight at the 1996 U.S. Junior Amateur and qualified for the U.S. Amateur, previously, in 1996 and 1998. He was the first alternate from the Greenville, S.C. qualifying site. When an exempt player, Jedd McLuen, who had qualified for the U.S. Open, declined his invitation to the championship, Trahan was called and he accepted. Ironically, Thompson was the medalist at the Greenville site, shooting 135 to Trahan’s 141.”It was a lot more difficult out there this afternoon than it was this morning as far as scoring was concerned,” said Trahan, who was the equivalent of 7-under in his 3 and 2 quarterfinal win over Jered Gusso, 21, of Savage, Minn. “I made a few birdies and a couple of bogeys. I made a couple of poor chips and really bad bunker shots. You just get frustrated with yourself. I tested my patience a little more this afternoon. I hung tough and managed to get the victory.” Dickerson, who faced a three-hole deficit after nine holes, won No. 10 with a par, halved No.11 and won No. 12 with a birdie to cut Kirk’s lead to one. Kirk bogeyed the 14th to even the match and Dickerson birdied the par-5 17th to gain a 1-up edge. Both players parred No.18 for Dickerson’s victory. “I was hitting the ball so badly, but I kept fighting,” said Dickerson. “I told my Dad when I was three down that I couldn’t feel my swing because my legs were so tired. I never got up until 17. I just fought and fought and fought. I am so tired I can’t tell you what getting to the final means.” In other morning quarterfinal matches: Thompson knocked off J J Wall, 19, of San Antonio, Texas, 5 and 4, Kirk edged Craig Lile, 23, of South Africa, 1 up, and Dickerson won over Jimmy Walker, 21, of Cibolo, Texas, 2 up. Trahan, Kirk, who played at UNLV, and Thompson, who plays collegiately at South Carolina, were the top three seeds in the draw of 64 players after stroke play. The Amateur Public Links medalist has not won the title since David Berganio in 1993. Ironically, the medalist has won the championship in each of the Amateur Public Links’ visits to Portland in 1979 (Dennis Walsh at West Delta G.C. now Heron Lakes) and 1990 (Michael Combs at Eastmoreland).
ResultsD J Trahan, Inman, S.C. def. Kyle Thompson, Columbia, S.C., 3 and 2Ben Dickerson, Hilliard, Fla. def. Michael Kirk, South Africa, 1 up
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