Horsfield opens with 61, wins U.S. Publinx qualifier

Sam Horsfield opened with 11-under 61 at a two-day U.S. Amateur Public Links qualifier.

Sam Horsfield opened with 11-under 61 at a two-day U.S. Amateur Public Links qualifier.

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photo

Sam Horsfield's first-round scorecard.

Florida teen Sam Horsfield easily earned a spot in the U.S. Amateur Public Links on Tuesday, and now might have a larger competition.

Horsfield, 16, who was born in Manchester, England but moved to Davenport, Fla., with his family as a 4-year-old, shot 10-under 61 Monday in the first round of the APL qualifier at Fox Hollow Golf Club in New Port Richey, Fla. It was one of three APL qualifiers the Florida State Golf Association hosted this week.

Horsfield, who recently finished tied for second at the Sage Valley Junior Invitational, set a Fox Hollow record with his round. It included three birdies on the front, and seven on the back for a 7-under 29. The course played to 6,821 yards, and Horsfield hit every fairway for just the second time in his career.

"It's not that easy of a course," Horsfield said of Fox Hollow. "You have to hit the fairways."

The teenager came back on Tuesday with a 1-under 70 to lap the field. Horsfield was the medalist at 11-under 131, and Nick Brothers of Crystal River, Fla., was the second qualifier at even-par 142.

Horsfield counts Ian Poulter among his friends, and once beat Poulter, 1 up, in a nine-hole match at Lake Nona Golf Club. Horsfield’s name frequented Poulter’s Twitter page on Tuesday. Poulter began by posting a screen-shot of the qualifier’s leaderboard, then challenged England’s top 3 juniors to fly to Orlando, Fla., on his dime and challenge Horsfield. As Poulter eventually tweeted, “I will ask the @EnglandGolf for the best 3 and see if they fancy a trip to Orlando. Lets get it on.”

Next up for Horsfield is the Florida State Amateur at Jupiter Hills Club in Tequesta, Fla. That begins on Thursday. He also will attempt U.S. Junior and U.S. Amateur qualifying this summer. Earlier this summer, he was three shots short of qualifying for the U.S. Open at the sectional at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. Horsfield needed a birdie at the last, a long par 4, but cranked his drive out of bounds on his way to double bogey.

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