-By Rory Sharrock
Johns Creek, Ga. (August 11, 2014) – The field at the 114th U.S. Amateur Championship is a top-heavy group with evenly matched players from across the globe. In a tournament with so much talent, it’s no surprise there’s a narrow margin in scores and a tie atop the leaderboard to conclude the first round of stroke play.
Georgia native, Jimmy Beck of Columbus, Sam Horsfield of England, and Taylor Moore of Edmond, Okla. ended Monday’s action with a first-place score of six-under following a busy day where several players shuffled in and out of top spot.
Beck, who attends nearby Kennesaw State University, teed off on the Highlands course and drilled seven birdies to propel him to his current position.
“To start off, I was just hoping I'd make a few pars, get it going and see where my game’s at,” said Beck. “So to make those two birdies was pretty good, especially on No. 2 with how long it was.
"So I think I would say No. 2 was definitely the highlight of my round. It feels so good. I've been playing well coming into this, and just to see putts fall, continue to fall and just hit it where you want to hit it, it's a good feeling.
"I didn't really have any expectations for today [Monday] or for the week. I was just really trying to have fun and end the summer right and what better way to do it than right here in Georgia.”
The foreign-born Horsfield, who currently resides in Davenport, Fla., tallied his score on the Riverside course. His opening round included six birdies, including three in a row (No. 9-No. 11) to give him a share of the lead.
Just like Beck and Horsfield, Moore’s afternoon included an array of birdie opportunities, playing on the Riverside course. He began the day with a birdie on the par-five first, which is the longest hole on the course, stretching out to 618 yards.
“I just wanted to go out and hit a lot of greens out there and give myself some birdie looks, stay consistent and hit the middle of the greens,” said Moore. “Not attack too many pins, but hit some good shots out there and got into a good rhythm on the greens.”
Tied in fourth place and just one shot behind the leaders are Lee McCoy of Cartersville, Ga. and Jonathan Garrick of Atherton, Calif.
Garrick is coming off great play last week at the Canadian Amateur where he shared the second-round lead before finishing in a tie for second place.