Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Hogenkamp heading to Publinx championship
By Gary R. Rasberry
Ben Hogenkamp had a whirlwind 24 hours late last week.
Hogenkamp, a Minster High School and Wittenberg University graduate, was named third team Division III All-American late on Wednesday evening by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
Less than a day later, he qualified for the 89th United States Golf Association's Amateur Public Links Championship to be held in mid-July.
"It was a heckuva 24 hours," Hogenkamp said. "I got a text from my coach (Jeff Roope) and saw on the school website that I was All-America. I got third team, which means top 25 in the country. (I'm) pretty honored by that."
Last Thursday, Hogenkamp competed in the sectional qualifier for the Amateur Public Links, or Publinx, at Beavercreek Country Club. Around 30 players competed on the par-72 course for the one spot to advance to the national tournament.
Hogenkamp shot a 36-hole score of 142 (71-71) to win the qualifier and earn the lone advancement to the tournament July 14-19 at Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton, Kan.
"It's a great opportunity for a public player to go out and qualify for a tournament," Hogenkamp said. "I just happened to bring my A-game that day."
It's the first time that Hogenkamp has qualified for a USGA national tournament in his career.
"I tried to qualify for 5-6 (USGA) events by now," Hogenkamp said. "I played in the U.S. Open qualifier earlier this year."
The Publinx tournament, the final one the USGA will sanction, is open to all amateur players who do not belong to private clubs. Players try to qualify at 50 different sites to be one of the 156 players to take part. After two rounds of stroke play, the field will be whittled down to 64. The tournament then becomes a single-elimination match play tournament. The overall winner, provided he remains an amateur, earns an invite to next year's Masters tournament in Augusta, Ga.
"The last time I remember playing match play was at my home course at Arrowhead back in high school," Hogenkamp said. "When you take into account the amount of qualifying we have to do for college tournaments, there were a lot of times it was just heads-up (score vs. score) between me and another guy. ... It all comes down to hitting good shots. All the same to me."
Hogenkamp is used to playing top-level golf, having been a member of Minster's 2009 state championship team. At Wittenberg, Hogenkamp was co-captain this season and was named the Bob Nye Award winner for being the overall medalist at the two conference tournaments. The Tigers finished fifth at the NCAA Division III national tournament.