LORTON, Va. –Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge advanced to the championship match at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship with a pair of victories on Friday at Laurel Hill Golf Club.
The championship match appearance marks the first time a Cowboy has reached the final since Dayton Rose made back-to-back appearances in 2003 and 2004.
Niebrugge has been impressive en route to his march to the 36-hole final, trailing just one hole over the 78 he has played in five matches. The rising sophomore was forced to play the final three holes for the first time in the event by Zecheng Dou in their quarterfinal meeting. Niebrugge birdied the second to take the first lead of the match and extended to a 3-up advantage with pars at the fifth and eighth holes.
Dou carded back-to-back birdies on the next two holes to trim the margin to one, but Niebrugge answered with a birdie at the par-3 11th. After the next four holes were halved, Dou won the 16th before the final two holes were halved to give Niebrugge a 1-up victory.
Niebrugge’s semifinal match pitted him against James Erkenbeck, a 2013 first-team All-American for New Mexico. After halving the first hole, Erkenbeck won the second hole, marking the first time Niebrugge had trailed in the entire event. However, the Mequon, Wis., native claimed the next two holes to take his first lead of the match.
Erkenbeck birdied the seventh to draw even before Niebrugge posted birdies at the ninth and 10th to move back in front with a 2-up lead. Erkenbeck cut the margin in half with a win at the 11th, but Niebrugge won the 14th and 15th before halving the 16th to move on with a 3-and-2 triumph.
Niebrugge will take on California’s Michael Kim, the 2013 national player of the year, in the championship match, which is set for a 7 a.m. (EST) start.