VERO BEACH, Fla. — Reigning U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Scott Harvey began his quest to defend with an opening-round 69, 3-under, at the West Course at John's Island Club. He, along with three others, are tied for first place as the first round of stroke play concluded in South Florida.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Harvey told the USGA when asked about repeating. “I don’t want to lose and I know what it means to win.”
Harvey would become the first repeat champion since Nathan Smith in 2010.
Also at 3-under, though posting 68s on the par-71 North Course, are Keith Unikel of Maryland and Bryan Smith of Vermont. Mark Dull of Lakeland, Fla. came in with a 69 on the West Course, as well, joining Harvey on the track that will eventually house the match play portion of the event.
For Smith, sharing the lead after the first round is a thrilling experience.
“It’s a little surreal right now,” Smith told the USGA. “I know I have the game to compete. I thought there would be some lower scores but at the same time I played well.”
A handful of players, seven to be exact, posted 2-under par, including Andrew Price of Illinois, Brad Gibson of Texas, Denver Haddix of Kentucky, and John Sawin of California.
Haddix, who won the Kentucky Match Play title in 2014 and tied for third this year at the Lupton Invitational, reached the quarterfinals of last year's U.S. Mid-Amateur. Sawin, a San Francisco resident who hails originally from Pennsylvania, won the 2015 Walter J. Travis Invitational.
Overall, 41 players are within four shots of the lead heading to Sunday, with the cut line currently sitting near the 2-over/3-over mark. The top-64 players will advance to match play, beginning Monday on the West Course.