Griffin, 16, makes Round of 16 at Public Links

MIDWAY, Utah – Ben Griffin got his driver’s license just eight day ago. Now the 16-year-old is in the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Public Links after a 19-hole victory over Pacific’s Alex Edfort.

Griffin hit pitching wedge to 4 feet on the 19th hole – the first at Soldier Hollow – then made the putt after Edfort lipped out his 15-footer for birdie.

“It was a great match,” Griffin said. “We both didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked, but it was really back-and-forth. It was a close match all day. It was whoever stayed alive and hit the right shot at the right time.”

Griffin squared the match with a par at the 481-yard, par-4 ninth hole. They halved every hole on the back nine, making eight pars apiece and birdies at the par-5 16th. Edfort reached that green in two, but Griffin had to lay up after driving into a fairway bunker. Griffin’s approach with a 54-degree wedge lipped out and stopped 1 foot from the hole. Edfort two-putted for birdie.

“That was pretty key,” Griffin said.

Griffin recently completed his sophomore year at East Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, N.C., home of the University of North Carolina. He already has made a verbal commitment to the Tar Heels. His home course is UNC’s campus course, Finley Golf Club. This is Griffin’s first USGA championship.

“Coming in, I was just trying to post some good scores,” said Griffin, who lost a playoff for one of the final spots in the 16-man match-play bracket at last week’s North & South Amateur. He finished T-12 in the 54-hole stroke-play portion. “I just wanted to get into match play.”

Edfort, who made the Round of 16 at last year’s Publinks, had squeaked his way into the second round at Soldier Hollow. He was the 64th, and final, seed after stroke play. He holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the final hole of his first-round match with medalist James Erkenbeck to force extra holes, then won on the 21st hole.

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