-Story by Pete Kowalski
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. (August 13, 2014) – Four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith, of Pittsburgh, the final player to make the 64-man match-play field, defeated co-medalist Lee McCoy, of Clarkesville, Ga., Wednesday to lead the 32 winners who advanced to the second round of match play at the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club’s 7,382-yard, par-71 Highlands Course.
“I was so excited to get into match play,” said Smith, a 36-year-old investment advisor, who last advanced to the round of 32 in 2005. “It was kind of nothing to lose and I just got lucky. I played well.”
Smith, who has also represented the USA three times in the Walker Cup Match, won in 19 holes by sinking a 3½–foot par-saving putt to eliminate McCoy, 20, a second-team All-American at the University of Georgia. McCoy’s co-medalist, Taylor Moore, of Edmond, Okla., was also eliminated.
Playing in his 14th U.S. Amateur, Smith squared the match with a birdie on the water-fronted par-3 17th hole and converted a critical up-and-down for par on the 18th hole to force extra holes.
“I saw the list and I saw four-time Mid-Am winner and a guy that's played in the Masters four times, and I was like, I get to play the grizzled veteran in the first round, fantastic,” said McCoy. “I don't think he had his best stuff today and neither did I. I didn't play nearly as well as I did the last two days. He made some incredible up-and-downs and he just scored unbelievably well, like a veteran would.”
Jesse Heinly, 22, of Bend, Ore., playing in his first USGA championship, defeated co-medalist Moore, 3 and 2.
The 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. The second and third rounds of match play are scheduled for Thursday.
For more, please continue reading at usga.org.