Newton, Kan. -

Michael Gellerman came into the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship so sick he was almost unable to swing his clubs.

"I was just hoping to feel better by stroke play so I could make it," Gellerman said.

But overcoming that is nothing compared to leaving small town Kansas to compete against the nation best.

"The biggest learning curve was just learning how to compete in the big golf tournaments," he said. "Not putting too much pressure on myself and just having fun."

He grew up on a nine-hole course in Sterling. Now a senior at the University of Oklahoma, Gellerman plays on bigger stages.

"Everyone is so good," he said. "So I just try to play as consistently well as I can and hopefully hang in there and play better than some. And win every once in a while."

He's back in his home state for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Sand Creek Station and now he's on to the round of 32. He defeated the 24 seed Trent Peterson from Eagan, Minn. in match play 5 & 4. This is the furthest he's advanced in both of his U.S. Amateurs.

"I just think my game and my mind have matured a lot. I've just learned how to play golf a lot better and handle myself a lot better."

Being home has its advantages. Home-cooked meals for one, plus his first-time caddy is a childhood friend. Chris Schneider might be Gellerman's good luck charm.

"I just keep him grinding when the shot's not going where he wants and we try to grind it and find a way to get through it," Schneider said.

And he's the lone Kansan remaining in the tournament.

"I'm actually a little disappointed that none of the other guys made it to be honest," Gellerman said. "But it makes me happy and I just want to represent Kansas well."
Gellerman will face Patrick Beyhan on Thursday in the round of 32. Their tee time is set for 7:30 a.m.