July 20, 2009

Courtesy of Washington

NORMAN, Okla. -- Washington men's golfer Nick Taylor's incredible run in the 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship came to an end today with a 7 & 6 loss to Brad Benjamin in the event's 36-hole final at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.

Taylor, trying to become only the second Husky golfer ever to win the Public Links Championship, is the top-ranked amateur player in the world and was the low amateur at the 2009 U.S. Open. He had cruised through the match play bracket, needing just a combined 72 holes to win his five previous matches.

"A little disappointed," Taylor remarked after the round when asked how he felt about his performance. "I played well the entire week, and to be in the final and lose is definitely disappointing. But Brad played unbelievable in the afternoon. Pretty much did to me what I did to the other guys coming in to this Match Play. So I didn't play great, but I didn't really give it to him. So I just tried my best to play good."

Benjamin, who led 4-up after 18 holes in the scheduled 36-hole final, applied the pressure to Taylor immediately in the afternoon, winning the 19th hole by hitting his approach shot on the 468-yard par-4 first hole to within 3-feet for birdie, which was conceded by Taylor. Benjamin continued his aggressive play, matching Taylor's birdie on the 621-yard par-5 fifth hole, the 24th of the match, and then surging ahead with a 30-foot birdie putt on the 175-yard par-3 sixth hole to go 6-up on the 25th hole of the match.

Benjamin, though lacking Taylor's resume, had hit the clutch shots he needed to in the championship just to reach the final. He won his semifinal match by birdieing the 18th hole to win, 1-up, when he hit a 9-iron from 148 yards to 5-feet and made the putt to advance to the final.

Taylor still has a number of events planned for the summer, before turning his attention back to classes in late September at the UW.

"I'd love to play in an Open and play there, and Nationwide Tour event. And then for Team Canada up in Montreal, and then right after that in Montreal is Canadian Amateur and then U.S. Amateur."

Thanks to the USGA for its contribution to this report.