NEWTON, Kansas (AP) — Garrett Rank, Michael Colgate and Zane Thomas opened with 5-under-par 66s Monday for the first-round lead at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
The 26-year-old Rank is playing in his fifth Public Links, tied for most among the field of 156 at the 7,365-yard, par-71 Sand Creek Station Golf Course. Rank took medalist honors at last year’s championship. He made four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 sixth hole for his share of the lead.
“I’ve been playing really well and have had a lot of really good results,” said Rank, of Canada. “I hit a few more 3-woods and hybrids today than I normally would to keep it in play while I familiarize myself with the course, and luckily, it worked.”
Colgate, of Sarasota, Florida, and Thomas, of Las Vegas, both are 20. Colgate did not have a bogey in his round, which he finished off in style with two birdies.
“I wasn’t happy with how I performed in the last couple of USGA events,” said Colgate, who qualified for the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur and the 2012 U.S. Amateur. “But I’m really proud of the way I played today. I don’t have to worry if I make a couple of early bogeys tomorrow; I am still in good shape.”
Thomas, in his first national championship, birdied five of his first eight holes and also closed with birdies on his final two holes.
Thomas Lim of Eugene, Oregon, and Byron Meth of San Diego, trailed the leaders by one stroke.
Ha’s leads women’s Public Links by shot with 67: DUPONT, Wash. (AP) — Cindy Ha shot a 5-under-par 67 for the first-round lead Monday at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship.
The 17-year-old Ha, from Demarest, New Jersey, had seven birdies and two bogeys on the 6,169-yard, par-72 Home Course. It’s her third appearance in the tournament.
Last year’s girls junior champion Gabriella Then was one stroke back. She was followed at 69 by Annie Park, a member of the victorious American team in this year’s Curtis Cup and the co-medalist at the 2013 Public Links.
Park, 19, of Levittown, New York, also played in the World University Golf Championship in Switzerland this summer.
Aram Choi was tied with Park.
Lucy Li, the 11-year-old who played in last month’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst, that championship’s youngest qualifier, shot a 74.
“Everything was really solid,” said Ha, who will attend Vanderbilt this year. “Tee shots are really important here and I was hitting the fairways with pretty long drives, so I had wedges in. From there, just hitting them close and making the putts.”
Defending champion Lauren Diaz-Yi was at even-par 72.