Friday, July 19, 2013
Valparaiso senior Kyle Henning (Brookfield, Wis./East) has outlasted more than 3,000 other entrants in the 2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and is currently playing in the quarterfinals of the event at Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Va.
"Kyle had a tremendous year as a junior for our team, this past season," said Crusader head coach David Gring. "He has continued to work very hard on his golf game this summer, and the results are evident. Playing in top-caliber national tournaments like the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship will prepare him well for his senior year."
156 golfers advanced to Laurel Hill to start off the championship with 36 holes of stroke play, designed to cut the field down to 64. Henning was among the leaders after the first round of play, shooting a 69 on the par-70 course. Going low in the first round gave Henning enough of a buffer to overcome a second-round 76, as he advanced to the final 64 and match play right on the number at +5.
Henning was matched up with Xander McDonald-Smith in the round of 64, and despite trailing through the middle portion of the round, came from behind for the victory. Henning birdied the par-4 12th to square up the match, and then birdied both par-5's coming in for a 2-up victory. Henning's round of 32 match against P.J. Samiere was a much more comfortable win, as the Crusader senior never trailed en route to a 5 & 4 victory to advance to the round of 16.
Henning's next match, however, against Carlson Cox IV was the antithesis of the round of 32 showdown, as he never led outright until the 18th and final hole. Cox led for much of the match, pushing his lead to 2-up at one point, and Henning trailed 1-up through 16, needing to win at least one of the final two holes to send the match to a playoff. But Henning did one better, as a par on the par-4 17th was enough to even up the match, and then for the second time in as many match play matches, birdied the par-5 18th to clinch the win and advance to Friday's quarterfinals.
Henning is matched up with Eric Sugimoto, a junior at Pacific and the 2013 Big West Conference individual champion, in the quarterfinals. The winner of the U.S. Amateur Public Links earns an invitation to the following year's Masters Tournament, should he still be an amateur at that time. For Henning, this is the second USGA Championship he has participated in, as he qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur, but did not advance to match play.