June 29, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – Clemson junior Corbin Mills defeated Greg O’Connor of Alpharetta, GA and Kennesaw State University, 4 & 2, on Wednesday in the first round of the United States Public Links Championships at Bandon Trails Golf Course at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon.
Mills now advances to the second round of match play against John Peterson of Fort Worth, TX. Peterson, who plays for LSU, won the NCAA Championships just three weeks ago. Peterson defeated Peter Williamson of Hanover, NH in the first round.
Wednesday was the first match play event of Mills’s golfing career.
Mills, who was the top stroke average player on the Clemson team this past season, was one down after four holes on Wednesday. The native of Anderson, SC got off to a tough start, as he was three over par for his first four holes. But, he squared the match at the par three fifth hole with a birdie.
“They moved the tees up to about 95 yards and that is a perfect distance for my 56-degree wedge,” said Mills. “I hit the approach to within three feet and made the putt.”
Mills then won the sixth hole with a par, as his opponent three-putted for a bogey.
The challenging 255-yard par three 12th hole was pivotal. Still leading just one up, Mills knocked a four iron to within 15 feet of the hole on his tee shot.
“I was in great shape because O’Connor did not hit the green on his tee shot, then hit a chip 20 feet from the cup. But, he drained the putt for par and now all of a sudden I had to make the putt to win the hole.” And Mills did just that to take a two-up lead.
He then went three-up with a par on the 15th hole, then won the match when O’Connor conceded a five-foot birdie putt on the par five 16th hole. Mills was one under par for his 16 holes of play on the Bandon Trails course on Wednesday.
“I really like this course because there are a lot of different ways to play each hole. The wind kicked up today so it was playing tougher. I got off to a rough start with a double bogey on the third hole, my first double of the week.
“But, I kept telling myself this is match play and it is just one hole. I have been playing smart all week, telling myself that par is a good score. I plan to keep that strategy going forward.”
Mills will play Peterson at 10:30 AM Eastern time on Thursday. If he wins that match he will play another match on Thursday afternoon. Fans can follow the progress of each match on usga.org.
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