By Staff Report.
Clemson, SC—Clemson junior Corbin Mills defeated Talor Gooch of Midwest City, OK by a 4 &2 score on Thursday afternoon to advance to the final eight of the 2011 United States Public Links Championship. Earlier in the day, Mills defeated John Peterson, the 2011 NCAA Champion from LSU. The tournament is being played at the Old Macdonald Course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon .
Mills now moves on to face Andrew Vijarro of Bend, OR, a member of the University of Oregon golf team, on Friday at 11:10 AM Eastern time, 8:10 AM in Oregon. The progress of the match can be followed on usga.org.
It was quite a day for Mills, who is playing in the first match play tournament of his career. He is now 3-0 in the match play portion after winning the 36-hole stroke play qualifier. “I do like this course and this format, “ said Mills, who was Clemson’s top golfer in terms of stroke average this past season.
The key for Mills was his ball striking. “My ball striking was the best part of my game, especially in the afternoon. I also made a change in my approach when it came to putting. In the morning round I missed some short putts because I was not aggressive enough. I worked on that on the putting green in between rounds and it was a much better approach.”
Unlike the morning match when he jumped out to a 2-up lead after two holes, Mills found himself behind after the first hole in his match against Gooch, who was ranked number-101 in the nation according to the Sagarin collegiate rankings this year.
But, Mills came back to win the third and fourth holes with birdie threes and held that one-up lead through the ninth hole. He then won the 10th hole with a par, the second time on Thursday that he won that par four hole with a par. After losing the 11th, he won the 12th and 14th holes to take a three-up lead. He clinched the match on the 16th hole when Gooch conceded his five-foot birdie putt.
Mills trailed for just two holes and made just three bogeys in both matches combined on Thursday. “I just played a game where I hit the ball in the fairway and then hit the ball on the green. That was my game plan. It was a more conservative approach, but it has worked and I will continue that approach on Friday.”
Mills is trying to become the third Clemson golfer to win the US Public Links Championship. Kevin Johnson won the tournament in 1987 and D.J. Trahan won the event in 2000.