July 17, 2009

Courtesy of Washington

NORMAN, Okla. -- Nick Taylor won twice in match play on Thursday and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Taylor, the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, beat Todd Obergoenner 6 and 5 in the Round of 16 under Oklahoma's afternoon sun at the Jimmie Austin OU Club. The Abbottsford, B.C. All-American beat Brett Munson 8 and 6 in the morning's second round.

Taylor lead from start to finish in both matches on Thursday and has now led 37 of 39 holes during the first three rounds of match play. In fact, Taylor lost hole No. 1 of his first match on Wednesday versus Craig Cyr, squared the match on No. 2 and has led for 37 holes since. Taylor has made 19 birdies, two eagles and only four bogeys in his three matches.

"It's been a while since I've been striking the ball this well," said Taylor, who was the top amateur finisher at the 2009 U.S. Open. "My distance control has been great this week, and I've been giving myself a lot of good looks at birdie."

In his afternoon match against Obergoenner, a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University, Taylor won the first three holes to build an insurmountable lead. He parred No. 1, while Obergoenner bogeyed, and followed up with back-to-back birdies on No. 2 and 3.

The pair halved the next four holes before Taylor took a four-hole advantage by parring No. 8, while Obergoenner carded a bogey. Taylor put away his opponent by winning No. 11 and 12 to extend his lead to six holes with six to play. Each birdied the Par-5 13th hole, clinching the match for Taylor.

In the morning round, Taylor took the lead on No. 1 by carding a par, while Munson bogeyed. The early turning point came on the par-4 No. 3 where Taylor chipped in his second shot from 20-yards out to net an eagle to take a two-hole advantage.

From there, Taylor went on to win holes 5 and 6 with birdies to take a four-hole lead, before halving the next two holes with Munson. Taylor then went on a four-hole roll, starting with No. 9, and never looked back.

He eagled his second hole of the day on No. 10, a short 315-yard par 4. He nestled his ball within six feet of the cup off the tee and drained his putt to take all the wind out of Munson's sails.

"I'm fine with winning like this, but it's (tough matches) going to come sooner or later," said Taylor after his morning round. "But (if I) stick to my game plan of fairways and greens and making pars, if I do that, someone's going to have to shoot at least under par to win. To do that on this golf course you have to play solid so if I'm making pars it's putting pressure on them."

Taylor will tee off at 5 a.m. PT on Friday against No. 9 seed Wesley Bryan, a sophomore from the University of South Carolina, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a 1-up victory over Chris Polski.

Information for this story was gathered from USGA.com.