July 20, 2012
Minnesota golfer Kyle Beversdorf made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship last week in Midway, Utah. GopherSports.com caught up with the redshirt sophomore to ask about his experience at Soldier Hollow Golf Course, his Golden Gopher debut this fall, and the Open Championship.
GopherSports: In your quarterfinal match, you had a lead and then Carlos Rodriguez tied it up late in the round. How did you feel heading into the last few holes all square?
Kyle Beversdorf: I lost hole 15 to go all square, losing a bit of a lead. I just kind of told myself that in the first match, I was all square going into 16 and I put together a good stretch of three holes and was able to win that one. So I figured, even though he’s got the momentum, there’s no reason I can’t put together the same sort of three holes and come away with the win.
GS: And you did come away with the win (1-up). In the semifinal, you made a little comeback but couldn’t quite catch Kevin Aylwin (who won 2&1). Talk a little about that match.
KB: I played an opponent that was hot at the right time. He was an excellent putter and kept the ball in play, so it was very tough for me to win holes on him. That’s why he took an early lead on me, because I wasn’t really able to make any birdie opportunities and I wasn’t keeping the ball in play. He was able to get that lead early on me, and then I just found a bit of a swing going into the last five or six holes or so, and kind of went with it and trusted what it was doing. It gave me opportunities for birdies that I wasn’t having in the front nine and I wasn’t able to capitalize unfortunately. It was kind of cool to get a few big putts to put some pressure on him, though.
GS: You started in a field of 64 players in match play—and even more earlier in the tournament—and you made it to the last four. What was going well for you that allowed you to make such a good run?
KB: It was kind of funny early in the tournament in the stroke play rounds, I was hitting the ball great, probably one of the best ball striking performances I’ve had in a long time. I just wasn’t able to putt and was not very sharp around the greens, so that kind of held me back. But then once match play came up with the field of 64, it kind of reversed on me. My swing kind of got tired and was not where it was before, and my short game—my chipping and putting—really took the load and got better and better each match. So that was pretty fun to experience.
GS: What was your overall experience like—the course, the weather, playing in a big tournament?
KB: It was pretty cool. It was way different than golfing back home in Minnesota. It was right on the side of the mountain, and it was in a huge valley. The scenery was pretty incredible, and there were a lot of different elevation changes that came with the course. Also, being at such a high elevation overall—I think it was about 6,000 feet—the ball went farther. So it was just a little bit of an adjustment compared to Minnesota courses and Minnesota golf. Overall, the weather was fantastic. The wind picked up quite a bit in the afternoons, but overall it was pretty nice and calm most of the tournament. That was kind of fun.
GS: After redshirting last year due to transfer rules, how excited are you to get on the course for the Gophers this fall?
KB: I’m very excited. I’m looking forward to the tournaments already. Even though it’s still summer, I’m thinking about them. It was tough sitting out for an entire year. Not that the team didn’t perform as well as they could have or anything like that, but definitely just being on the sideline not being able to help them out as much as I wish I could, it was kind of tough. So I’m very excited to come back and get into action.
GS: Just for fun: Through one round of the British Open, who do you like to win?
KB: I’m a huge Tiger Woods fan, a huge fan of his game. I would love to see him win again. But Zach Johnson, I might go with him. He’s got off to kind of a hot start, and he’s had a great season. Instead of Tiger, we’ll say Zach Johnson.