Medalist Goldberg has putting struggles, is eliminated at Public Links

DENVER -- Brady Johnson provided the stunner of the day by beating medalist Aaron Goldberg, 5 and 4, in the first round of match play of the 83rd U.S. Amateur Public Links on Wednesday.

"I missed a couple of short putts, but I still didn't hit the ball very well," said Goldberg, a San Diego native. "Brady played well. He deserved to win. He played a lot better than I did."

Johnson, a 20-year-old junior-to-be at Brigham Young, had his own take on what he considered one of his greatest accomplishments. Johnson earned the last match-play spot Tuesday by winning a 10-man playoff.

"Everybody has a good day. Everybody has a bad day," Johnson said. "I got lucky today with the combination of the two."

Canada's Johnson benefited from both in the first two holes. He watched Goldberg miss a couple of putts to start the match and sank a 4-foot birdie on No. 2 to go 1 up.

"I think winning the second hole was nice," Johnson said. "It might have gotten his attention a little bit."

Johnson made the turn 2 up, then won No. 10 and 12. He closed out the match with an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 15.

Goldberg became only the third medalist beaten in a first-round match of match play since 2000. The previous two were Mark Harrell (2007) and Isaac Jimison (2002).

Second-seeded Rickie Fowler had a relatively easy time beating Michael Knott of Buffalo, 4 and 2. Fowler struggled down the stretch when Knott won two holes.

"I started out making a bunch of pars and I was able to grab some cushion when Michael had a rough start," said Fowler, of Murrieta, Calif. "Towards the end I got a few bad breaks and gave two holes back on 14 and 15."

"I finally made two putts today. That's two more than I made the previous two days."

Three other top 10 golfers besides Goldberg were eliminated.

Third-seeded Zachary Zaremba of Pueblo, Colo., lost to Zach Sebert of Grove City, Ohio, 1 up. Dan Whitaker of Elam, Wash., defeated eighth-seeded Travis Reid of Clovis, N.M., 2 up; and ninth-seeded Kevin Aylwin of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., lost to Peter Malnati of Dandridge, Tenn., 4 and 2.