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Four end Publinx stroke play atop leaderboard

Newton, KS (Sports Network) - Zane Thomas fired a 3-under 68 on Tuesday to remain tied atop the leaderboard following the final round of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Thomas, who shared the lead with last year's stroke-play medalist Garrett Rank and Michael Colgate, finished in a four-way tie for first with Byron Meth, Doug Ghim and Rico Hoey at 8-under 134 heading into Wednesday's match play.

Hoey carded the low round of the four with a 64 on Tuesday at Sand Creek Station Golf Course, while Ghim and Meth shot 65 and 67, respectively.

Sam Saunders ended alone in fifth at 6-under 136 following his 5-under 66 on Tuesday. He was followed by Englishman Sam Horsfield (69) at 5-under. Horsfield won the Florida State Amateur by 11 strokes in 2013.

Thomas Strandemo (65), Charlie Danielson (70) and Kolton Crawford (70) finished at 4-under, while seven players ended at 2-under. Just 20 players were under par at the conclusion of Tuesday's round.

Rank and Colgate both struggled to 4-over 75s and they finished in a four-way tie for 17th at 1-under 141. Defending champion Jordan Niebrugge (72) narrowly qualified for match play with a 4-over 146.

Hoey played a strong, bogey-free round, which allowed him to vault up the leaderboard and into a tie for first. After two pars to start his round, Hoey got the birdie train started at No. 3. He added three more birdies on the front nine at six, eight and nine. Hoey made three more birdies at 14, 15 and 17 to close out his round.

Ghim also made seven birdies on the day, including four on the front nine at two, five, six and seven. Three more birdies at 11, 15 and 17 had Ghim looking at the outright lead to conclude stroke play, but a bogey at the par-4 18th dropped him back into a tie for first.

Meth carded a bogey-free round as well, but he also had just four birdies on the day at five, six, nine and 10. He finished his round with eight straight pars.

If not for a few mistakes down the stretch, Thomas could have taken the stroke-play title. He started out with birdies at one, four, five, nine and 10 and was 5-under on the day. However, bogeys at 13, 15 and 17 dropped Thomas back a bit, but he turned things around and closed his round out with a birdie at 18.

With the top 64 players advancing to match play on Wednesday, which lasts through the 36-hole final on Saturday, 11 players at 5-over 147 played a playoff for the final seven spots.

Of those 11, Vinnie Murphy, Joshua Lee, Paul McClure, Andrej Bevins, Sean Carlon, Ted Moon and Aaron Flores moved on to Wednesday.

In dramatic fashion, Murphy holed an 88-yard eagle shot on the second playoff hole to advance. Then heading to the third playoff hole with David Pastore and Talon Supak, Lee chipped in to snag the last spot.

07/15 23:44:27 ET

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