JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – A pair of Oregon State men’s golfers opened play at the 114th U.S. Amateur on Monday, as senior Alex Franklin and incoming freshman Tyler Collier both took the course at the Atlanta Athletic Club in the first day of stroke-play competition.
Franklin fired a 1-over 73 at the par-72, 7,437-yard Riverside Course to put him in a tie for 70th place, while Collier shot a 4-over 76 on the same course for a tie for 168th place. Half of the 312-player field competed at the par-71, 7,374-yard Highlands Course in the opening round.
The top 64 players after Tuesday’s final round of stroke-play competition will advance to match play on Wednesday. The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association (USGA), 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Franklin had three birdies, two bogeys and a double on Monday to put him in a good position to advance with his opening 1-over 73. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur by winning a sectional qualifier in Fresno, Calif., in July.
Collier will have to make a big move on Tuesday to advance after carding a 4-over 76 that included three birdies but three bogeys and two doubles. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur by advancing through a playoff at a sectional qualifying tournament in Chico, Calif., in early July.
Jimmy Beck of Columbus, Ga., Sam Horsfield of England, and Taylor Moorecof Edmond, Okla., each shot 6-under Monday at Atlanta Athletic Club to share the lead after the first day of stroke-play qualifying.
The U.S. Amateur Championship is the oldest golf championship in this country, one day older than the U.S. Open. Except for an eight-year period, 1965-1972, when it was contested at stroke play, the Amateur has been a match-play championship.
Throughout its history, the U.S. Amateur has been the most coveted of all amateur titles. Many of the great names of modern professional golf, such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Stadler, Jerry Pate, Mark O'Meara, Hal Sutton, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, grace the Havemeyer Trophy.
It was, however, legendary amateur Robert T. Jones Jr., who first attracted national media coverage and sparked spectator attendance at the U.S. Amateur. Jones captured the championship five times (1924, 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1930). His 1930 victory was a seminal moment in golf history, as Jones won the four major American and British championships in one year and completed the Grand Slam by winning the U.S. Amateur at Merion Cricket Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Sixty-six years later, in 1996, Tiger Woods attracted similar levels of interest and enthusiasm at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., when he won a record third straight U.S. Amateur, having registered 18 consecutive match-play victories. In 1994, Woods, at 18, had first entered the record book as the youngest U.S. Amateur champion, following his three consecutive Junior Amateur titles (1991-1993). That record has since been broken twice, first by 17-year-old Danny Lee in 2008 at Pinehurst No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., then in 2009, when 17-year-old Byeong-Hun An won at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., with a 7-and-5 victory over Ben Martin, of Greenwood, S.C.