Newton, Kan. - For the first time and also the last time, senior Byron Meth can call himself the champion of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship (APL) as the Tiger ace took home the title in a hard fought finals matchup against Doug Ghim on Saturday, July 19. Meth was able to persevere in the end against a very game competitor as the soon to be senior won the tournament on the first playoff hole after squaring the match on the 36th and final hole of regulation play.
Meth will forever be known as the APL champion as the 89th edition of the tournament was the final playing of the long-standing prestigious event. As the champion, Meth takes home a gold medal and custody of the James D. Standish Trophy; Exemptions from qualifying for the next two U.S. Amateurs; Exemptions from local qualifying for the next three U.S. Opens, if amateur status is still intact; and a likely invitation to the next Masters Tournament.
"I am beyond excited for Byron and his family," said Pacific head coach Chris Hill. "This was a really special week and it is so well deserved. Byron is a prime example of an outstanding student athlete who works hard in all aspects of his life and is an excellent leader for the Pacific Tigers golf team!"
Facing off against co-medalist Ghim in the final match up of the grueling tournament, Meth found himself in his toughest match of his golfing career as the duo battled back-and-forth throughout the morning and afternoon. Controlling the course early, Meth was able to jump out front of the younger Ghim over the first few holes of play to establish himself in the lead, just as he had done throughout each of his previous matches. However, Ghim would not go down quietly as the soon-to-be Texas freshman battled back around the turn of the opening 18 holes to even the match and even take a brief lead on the 12th hole.
Down for the first time in days, Meth was able to rally back with a birdie on the par-4, 15th, to once again square the match and head to the final 18 holes of regulation even. Again, Meth was able to push ahead of Ghim on the front-nine of the Sand Creek Station Course, building a three-hole lead through the first eight holes of play. Once again, Ghim would not be denied as the Illinois native dominated the turn and the beginning of the back-nine to turn the tables on the Tiger ace as he took a late one-hole lead with just four to play.
With the finish line in sight and trailing Ghim, Meth continued to plug away, staying even with Ghim until the final hole where he was able to take advantage of a mistake off the tee by his young opponent to knot the match up once again and send the tournament into extra-holes. Back to square one, the two competitors made their way back to the par-5, 10th, where Ghim had taken two holes from Meth throughout the day. Despite the odds against him after dropping the hole twice, Meth came up with the shots he needed to take out Ghim on the first playoff hole as he drilled his approach within 15 feet of the hole to put the pressure on Ghim, who missed the green with his fourth shot. After missing his bogey-putt, Ghim conceded the hole to Meth and with it, the title.
Meth's summer play comes after taking home the 2014 West Coast Conference individual title in May. He will enter his senior season at Pacific in August where he will lead a Tiger team looking for its first WCC title in its second year in the conference.