Zac Blair eliminated from Public Links play

Jul 12 2012 - 11:13pm

MIDWAY -- Zac Blair, the last remaining Utah resident in the tourney, was eliminated Thursday morning in the round of 32 at the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship being conducted at the 7,670-yard, par-71 Soldier Hollow Golf Course.

Blair -- the former Fremont High and current BYU star -- lost to Paul McConnell, 2 and 1 in a match that featured 10 birdies over 17 holes.

Trailing 3 down, Blair birdied holes eight, nine and 10, but was able to win only one of those holes (the par-4 10th) due to clutch putting by McConnell.

"Zac knows this area real well and can strike back at any time -- and he did in the middle of the round," said McConnell. "I felt a little pressure because he's the hometown kid and everyone is rooting for him, but the crowd was really respectful. With match play you just have to stay calm all the time."

McConnell, 21, of Garland, Texas, then defeated Benjamin Griffin, the youngest player remaining in the field, to reach the quarterfinals.

Griffin, 16, who received his driver's license just six days before the APL began, lost 4 and 3 after a morning win over Alex Edfort, of Somerset, N.J., in 19 holes.

BYU golfer Justin Keiley, a Hawaii native, fell 3 and 2 to Brad Schneider in the round of the 32.

Schneider also won his second match of the day to make the final eight competitors.

The quarterfinals are scheduled to begin today at 7:30 a.m., followed by the afternoon semifinals.

All quarterfinalists are exempt into the 2013 APL, one of 13 individual national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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