T.J. Vogel started strongly. Then he
poured it on. The 21-year-old Miami
resident won the 2012 U.S. Amateur
Public Links Championship with a
near-historic performance, defeating
Kevin Aylwin, 12 and 10, at 7,670-yard,
par-71 Soldier Hollow Golf Course in
His victory was the second-largest
margin in APL history. In the 1985
Jim Sorenson defeated
Jay Cooper, 12 and 11,
at Wailua Golf Course in
Vogel won the first
two holes and stretched
his lead to 8 up with wins
at holes 11, 12 and 13.
In all, Vogel made eight
birdies in the morning
round, including six on
his last seven holes, to head to lunch
with a 10-up lead.
Not even a midday downpour cooled
Vogel, who continued his dominant performance in the afternoon. After halving
holes 19-22, Vogel won the par- 3 fifth,
the 23rd of the match, and closed out
his opponent with a birdie on the par- 5
eighth, the 26th of the match. He did
not make bogey or lose a hole all day.
“I felt (more) comfortable today than
I felt the entire week,” said Vogel, a
senior at the University of Florida.
“Normally when I wake up I feel anxious, like I can’t eat, I just want to get
CLICK TO VIEW
T.J. VOGEL TALK
ABOUT HIS VICTORY
going. Today, I was able to eat. I felt so
confident that it just blocked out any of
the pressures that I had. Nothing was
going to stop me.”
Vogel consistently outdrove fellow
Floridian Aylwin by 40-plus yards and
was hitting mid- to short-iron ap-
proaches while the 23-year-old from
New Smyrna Beach was hitting hybrids
or even fairway woods. For example,
after both players hit driver on the sixth
hole, Aylwin needed a hybrid for his ap-
proach, while Vogel hit a 7-iron.
“My length really helped today,” Vo-
gel said. “That was probably the biggest
difference. It’s a lot easier when you’re
hitting wedges. You can hit greens with
7-irons all the time, but you’re going to
score with your wedges.”
Vogel was extended to the 18th hole
in three of his first four matches at
Soldier Hollow, but he seemed to find
his groove early in his semifinal against
2011 APL runner-up Derek Ernst. On
his final 68 holes, Vogel made 22 bird-
ies and just one bogey.
“The first few matches were tough,”
Vogel said. “If I was a little off, I could
have been going home. But I really found
something in my swing when I played
Ernst and it was even better today.”
Vogel transferred to Florida from
the University of Southern California
in 2011 to be closer to his family. This
spring, Vogel was named a second-
team All American.
His plans for the next few months
include the Western Amateur and U.S.
Amateur, but it is a big event next April
that takes place 600 miles north of
Miami that really caught his attention.
knocked out in the first round, losing in
21 holes to Alex Edfort.
Vogel was fortunate to have his
father, Joe, a PGA professional and
the women’s coach at Florida Interna-
tional University, on the bag all week.
The elder Vogel injured his leg at some
point during the week, due to “the most
difficult course I have ever walked.”
But he said it was worth it.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Joe,
who is also T.J.’s instructor. “He’s won
many big championships over the
years. But this one is by far the most
U.S. PUBLIC LINKS NOTES
James Erkenbeck fired a bogey-
free, 4-under-par 67 for a 36-hole total
of 7-under 135 to earn medalist honors.
Talor Gooch, who shot a championship-
best 64 in the first round, and Vogel,
who carded a 65, finished a stroke back.
The match-play cut came at 4-over 146
with exactly 64 players. Erkenbeck was
The biggest upset of the tournament
came in the round of 64 when Chris
Williams, the No. 2-ranked amateur in
the world, fell to his former assistant
coach at the University of Washing-
ton, Alex Williams, 2 and 1. The tense
match was close the whole way, but
Chris Williams made some uncharac-
teristic errors on the back nine.
Vogel had an
lead after the
“I just couldn’t make the putts when
I needed to,” Williams said. “I’ve played
(Alex) a lot, and I’ve beaten him a lot.
But tournament golf is a little different.
He stepped up, and I didn’t.” l