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Joe Sixpack Tips A Cap To Publinks Demise

Eight years ago, Herbie Aikens qualified for his first U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship. For a Boston-area native who still was new to competitive amateur golf, it was a Red Sox-winning-the-World-Series type of feeling.
“I felt like my feet weren’t even on the ground,” he recalled. “I still think that might be the most excited I’ve ever been after a round of golf, just absolutely euphoric.”
Aikens had played for his high school team in the late 1990s, but at 6-foot-6 he’d been more into basketball. After graduating he apprenticed as an electrician, moved to California for a spell and eventually launched an electrical contracting business back home. He’d kept in touch with the game but never became serious about it until he visited David Leadbetter’s Florida academy in early 2006.
His trip to Washington State that summer for the Public Links was an eye-opener. Admittedly in over his head, Aikens missed the cut by a mile. But he was hooked.
Since then Aikens has become a Public Links regular, qualifying the past four years while playing out of Pinehills Golf Club, a dailyfee facility in Plymouth, Mass. Advancing to the Sweet 16 at Bandon Dunes in 2011, he says, was a career highlight.
Aikens, who also qualified for the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur that year, dreams of one day strolling the pristine fairways of Augusta National Golf Club as a Masters competitor. By custom, a victory in the Amateur, Mid-Amateur or Public Links would earn him a drive up Magnolia Lane.


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