MIDWAY, Utah – T.J. Vogel dominated the morning round of the U.S. Amateur Public Links. He made eight birdies and no bogeys and is 10 up against Kevin Aylwin. Vogel has a chance to set the record for largest winning margin in a 36-hole final (12 and 11). Famed course architect Charles Blair Macdonald set that record at the first U.S. Amateur, in 1895. That mark was matched by Jim Sorenson at the 1985 U.S. Amateur Public Links.
Vogel birdied six of his final seven holes in the morning 18, and has made 15 birdies in his past 33 holes, counting back to his 4-and-3 semifinal victory over Derek Ernst. Vogel made seven birdies in their match, leading Ernst to say, “He’s playing really well. I think he’s going to win tomorrow, and not by a little bit.”
Ernst is looking like a prophet. Vogel’s margin over Aylwin could be even bigger if not for some good halves by Aylwin late in the morning round. The players matched birdies on both Nos. 14 and 18. Aylwin chipped in for par on the par-4 15th.
Vogel won the first hole with par after Aylwin drove in the right rough and his approach came up about 15 yards short of the green. Vogel two-putted from 20 feet for par.
He hit his approach shot to 6 feet on the next hole and won with birdie. He holed a 12-footer for birdie two holes later to take a 3-up lead. He won the fourth hole after Aylwin pulled his hybrid approach into tall grass left of the green and was unable to reach the green with his chip shot. Vogel was just left of the green and holed a short par putt.
He went 5 up with par at the par-5 eighth hole after Aylwin failed to reach the green with his third shot and missed an 8-foot par putt. Vogel was in a greenside bunker in two shots and missed a 10-foot birdie putt, but still won the hole.
He won Nos. 11-13 to go 8 up. Vogel was conceded birdie on the 11th after Aylwin had to lay up on the par 4 and failed to make his par putt. Vogel then made 10-foot birdie putts on Nos. 12 and 13.
The players matched birdies on Nos. 14. Aylwin halved the 15th by chipping in for par after leaving his bunker shot in the greenside fringe. Vogel won the par-5 16th with birdie to take a 9-up lead. He made a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th. The players halved the 302-yard, par-4 18th with birdies. Vogel wedged to 2 feet. Aylwin, who went for the green, chipped 10 feet past and made the putt.
Vogel hit every fairway on the front nine and hit five of nine greens, though the four he missed were just off the green and led to easy par saves. He needed just 13 putts on that front nine.