Saturday, July 19, 2008
With Publinx win, Newman earns invitation to next year's Masters
AURORA, Colo. -- Jack Newman wanted to play in a few high profile tournaments this summer, just to see how he stacked up.
Turns out, very well.
Newman, a soon-to-be junior at Michigan State, beat John Chin 5 and 3 Saturday in the 36-hole final of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Murphy Creek Golf Course.
The native of Des Moines, Iowa, earns the traditional invitation into the field for next year's Masters.
"I had that on my mind all day," he said of the invitation. "I'm going to the show. I'm pretty pumped about going."
Maybe he can get some inside information on Augusta National from fellow Iowan Zach Johnson? After all, Johnson owns a green jacket thanks to his win in '07.
"I'm excited for the chance to go play in the Masters," said Newman, the first Iowan to win the APL title. "It's a dream since I was a little kid. Now, it's finally achieved. I don't think it's settled in yet."
It took some time for Newman to settle into his opening round. Newman, the tournament's 20th seed, was 1-down heading off the green at No. 6 when he asked his older brother, Andy, to carry his bag for him.
Andy Newman had just arrived after driving 16 hours from Des Moines. He had a calming influence on his younger brother, chatting with Jack about college life and a recent trip Andy Newman took to Costa Rica.
"Anything but golf," the 33-year-old said with a grin. "I wanted to keep him relaxed."
Jack Newman, 20, was the picture of poise on the course, draining one lengthy putt after another. The momentum changing moment of the match was when Newman sank a 30-footer putt for birdie on No. 18 in the morning round. Chin was staring at a virtual gimme and a chance to tie up the match heading into the afternoon round.
No such luck as Newman halved the hole.
"My brother said to try to rain on his parade," Newman said. "I figured he'd make it, he's been making those putts all day. It was all or nothing on that -- got lucky it went in."
Newman was 1-up before winning three straight holes -- Nos. 9, 10 and 11 -- in the afternoon session to take a commanding 4-up lead. He closed out the match on the 15th green when Chin, after already putting a ball into the cattails and missing a long putt, conceded the hole and the match.
Newman was greeted by hugs from his family, many of whom caravanned into town with Andy the night before.
"A little crowd," he said with a chuckle.
Chin, a soon-to-be junior at the University of California-Irvine, was awed at Newman's consistency.
"Jack was awesome out there," said Chin, who's from Temecula, Calif., and had his father, Michael, carrying his bag. "He didn't make a mistake and putted really well."
Chin, the tournament's 59th seed, knew after playing No. 9 in the afternoon round that it might not be his championship. He put his tee shot into the weeds near the green and a crowd of officials couldn't find it. He had to go back to the tee to hit another shot, ending up with a bogey five to lose the hole.
"I felt like if I just play my game I could easily take Jack on," Chin said. "He played good, no doubt about it. This wasn't my day."
Chin was consistently driving the ball 30-to-40 yards farther than Newman. He even crushed a drive 400 yards on a 506-yard par four.
However, Newman didn't let the difference in distance rattle him.
"I'm used to playing with long-ball hitters," said Chin, who, along with Newman, earns an automatic berth into next month's U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club.
It's been quite a week for Newman, who needed 24 holes in his quarterfinal match to defeat Corey Nagy of Charlotte, N.C., 1-up. Newman then knocked off Cason Hammock 3 and 1 in the semis to set up his win over Chin.
"I have a lot of confidence coming out of this week," Newman said. "I know I can compete with the best."