Bertrand wins second Public links, Sunnehanna Amateur approaching: From the desk of Mike Dudurich

Posted May 27, 2016 - By Mike Dudurich,
Freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich

2016 Public Links champion, Erik Bertrand, with Allana Covi

The WPGA has retained Mike Dudurich to write a blog for its website. The opinions and observations contained within are his own and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the Association.

Pittsburgh's Erik Bertrand became a two-time winner of the Public Links Championship this week when he put together rounds of the 68 and 70 at Pittsburgh National Golf Club to defeat 2011 champion Sean Knapp by three shots.

Bertrand made eight birdies in his first round along with four bogeys. In the second round he came back with four more birdies and a pair of bogeys.

He's one of the longest hitters on the amateur circuit and was hitting it close in the championship. Bertrand also won the title in 2013 at Totteridge.

Last year's champion, Tim Bowers, finished in a tie for 12th after opening with an 82 and coming back with a 71. Michael Courtad of Morgan, Pa. won the Senior Amateur Pub Links with rounds of 73 and 79, good for a six-shot win over Dan Reid of Pittsburgh. The senior event was also held at Pittsburgh National.

The West Penn Amateur is always a highlight on the schedule. And this year it's obviously very popular.

The number of entries for the June 20-21 at Bedford Springs Resort has reached 189, the most-ever for an out-of-town Amateur.

Four qualifiers will be held to determine the final field for the Am and whoever does make it to Bedford Springs will get to complete on a top-flight layout that is in absolutely marvelous condition.

The restoration project undertaken by Forse Design Co. of Uniontown, under the direction of Ron Forse and Jim Nagle is getting rave reviews and will provide a great test for the best amateurs in the West Penn Golf Association.

Oakmont Country Club isn't the only club in Western Pennsylvania getting ready for a major championship.

Preparations are underway at Sunnehanna Country Club for the 63rd Sunnehanna Amateur, which will be held the same week as the U.S. Open at Oakmont.

After a very difficult year in 2015 with course conditions, the classic A.W. Tillinghast has made a remarkable turnaround and is in excellent shape with about three weeks left before the tournament. Grounds superintendent Mark Leppert and his staff deserve a great deal of credit for the work they've done.

The field numbers 99 at this point, but another four or five players will be added after a qualifier at Bedford Springs June 13.

Players will come from 27 states and 13 countries.

Defending champion Derek Bard, who finished second in the U.S. Amateur, is exempt into the U.S. Open and won't compete at Sunnehanna.

Tournament dates are Wednesday, June 15 through Saturday, June 18.

Oakmont's Sean Knapp will be playing in the Amateur for the 25th time and the 23rd consecutive time.