BATON ROUGE – Two Tigers earned their spot in the field for the 113th United States Amateur Championship earlier this week as juniors Myles Lewis and Ben Taylor each won their sectional qualifiers to make their debut appearance in the nation’s most prestigious amateur championship sponsored by the United States Golf Association.
Lewis kicked off the week by firing a winning 36-hole score of 4-under par 140 for a three-stroke victory in the sectional qualifier held Monday at TPC Louisiana in Avondale. Taylor followed with a victory of his own in a sectional qualifier held at PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., as he took the title by four shots with a winning score of 8-under par 136 at the Fazio Course.
They are the first two Tigers to qualify for the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship this year as each will make his championship debut from Aug. 12-18 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
After opening Monday’s qualifier at TPC Louisiana with a brilliant 4-under 68 in the first round, Lewis sealed his victory with an even-par 72 in the afternoon to finish three shots clear of University of Louisiana-Lafayette senior Brandt Garon (143) as each earned their spot in the U.S. Amateur field.
“I hit the ball extremely well (Monday),” Lewis was quoted as saying in a tournament recap on NOLA.com. “I was swinging really confident. I knew going into it, I’ve been working on my putting a lot and I rolled it well. I think I missed only one putt inside of 10 feet. I knew if I stayed within myself and played my game and kept the momentum, I’d have a good shot.”
Taylor was also impressive in his victory as he took control of his sectional qualifier at PGA National Resort with a sensational score of 7-under 65 in the opening round.
The Leatherhead, England, native and transfer from Nova Southeastern University finished four strokes clear of the rest of the field after firing a 1-under 71 in the final round for his winning score of 8-under par 136. In second place was South Florida freshman Chase Koepka with a two-round total of 4-under 144 as he also earned a spot in the field for the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship.
LSU’s rising junior Curtis Thompson is a first alternate for the U.S. Amateur field after earning a third-place finish in the sectional qualifier held Monday and Tuesday at Harmony Golf Preserve in Harmony, Fla.
A First-Team All-SEC performer and Golfweek Honorable Mention All-American in 2013, Thompson blistered the par-72 layout at Harmony Golf Preserve with a 36-hole score of 7-under par 137 to finish third in the final standings. Thompson will compete at the U.S. Amateur Championship should either of the top two finishers in his sectional qualifier withdraw from the competition.
North Florida sophomore Joey Petronio won the sectional qualifier at the Harmony Golf Preserve with a two-day score of 9-under 135, followed by Rice University recruit Kevin Reilly in second place at 8-under 136.