Gotcher misses cut at Public Links by a stroke

Gotcher misses cut at Public Links by a stroke

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Gotcher misses cut at Public Links by a stroke

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn

Watching a tournament from the gallery, instead of playing, was a new experience for Samantha Gotcher.

And it didn’t take long for her to realize playing is her preference.

Gotcher found herself part of the gallery on Thursday at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship at Neshanic Valley in New Jersey.

Gotcher became an observer when she missed the cut on Tuesday by one stroke.

A field of 166 opened play on Monday in the prestigious amateur golf tournament with the first two rounds played under stroke play before moving to match play on Wednesday.

Gotcher shot a 77-73 — 150, missing the cut by a stroke.

“I learned so much in this one tournament. I learned so much more in those two rounds than I have all year,” said Gotcher, who played in a group that included one girl from Canada and another from California.

It was the second straight year Gotcher played in the Public Links Championship. Last year the tournament was held in Oregon and Gotcher wasn’t nearly as close to the cut as she was this time around.

Along with playing against the nation’s top amateur players, including a large contingent from the college golf ranks, Gotcher said experience on the course was almost essential.

“You had to have experience playing this golf course,” Gotcher said. “You had to hit all kinds of different shots and if you didn’t have the experience, you didn’t have the confidence in the shots.

“The rough was thick to say the least and that’s where they had their advantage. They’re so much more powerful than I am. They have the training and coaches year round and I don’t have that.”

The next two stops on Gotcher’s summer schedule is a U.S Girls Junior qualifier on June 26 and a U.S. Women’s Amateur qualifier on July 9.

Gotcher, who will join her Clarksville High teammates in a few weeks in a quest to repeat as Class AAA state champions, is considering a handful of SEC schools as her collegiate destination and said she wants to finalize that decision by early August.

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