U.S. Amateur Notebook: Day One of Qualifying at Riviera
14 Aug 2017
by Kevin Cassidy of AmateurGolf.com

see also: U.S. Amateur Golf Championship, Ridgewood Country Club

PACIFIC PALISADES, CA (August 14, 2017) - On day one of stroke play qualifying at the 117th U.S. Amateur Golf Championship, Kevin Cassidy is on site at Riviera Country Club.

Day One: Qualifying at Riviera

A little nerves on the putting green before tee off, younger players playing in their biggest tournament thus far. USGA seasoned vet, George Zahringer, on the other hand is chatting with his caddie and looking relaxed.

Related: U.S. Am Notebook: The Ball Doesn't Know George Zahringer's Age
Related: TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: U.S. Amateur Live Scoring and Updates

It’s easy to spot the top amateurs on the course because you will see a 30-man crowd and camera crew following. Early in the day, the cameras were on the 8:45 tee time with Scottie Scheffler, the 2017 US Open low amateur; Stewart Hagestad, the 2017 Masters low amateur; and Alfie Plant, the 2017 British Open low amateur. What a group! They have proved they can play at the top level, so they should have no problem at this major championship set up.

Stewart Hagestad Teeing off on the 9th at Riviera
Stewart Hagestad Teeing off on the 9th
Hagestad chose to play off the pebbled cart path on the 9th hole, instead of dropping to his nearest point of relief, in foot long rough. He could not convert on a birdie opportunity after a great shot off the path and finished with two-over 72. Scottie Scheffler with his laid back demeanor was the only one to break par in the group, but do not count any of them out for making match play.

Cameras and the occasional IPhone streaming to Facebook could also be found at the 8:34 tee time with Doug Ghim, Cameron Champ, and Norman Xiong. This featured group was chirping for the cameras all day with 15 birdies between them. Champ finished up at even par (70), Ghim three-under (67) and Xiong is tied for the lead at six-under (64).

Players have been saying Riviera is playing at least three shots harder and they will be looking at more birdie opportunities at Bel-Air Country Club.

With only the tees and greens roped off, players and their families are enjoying being close to the action on the fairway.

This course is testing the players in all facets of the game. The tee markers are on the tips on most tee boxes giving the players long shots into the sloping greens with tucked pins. Players who aren’t able to hit greens with their long clubs are struggling to get up and down for par. Players have to be constantly aware of where they are on the course and where the danger is.

Stewart Hagestad Teeing off on the 9th at Riviera
U.S. Open low amateur Scottie Scheffler
It is easy to give up shots with so many tough chips around the green. The tricky fast greens at Riviera are giving players tough sliders for par all day, making it very easy to 3-putt.

Off the tee of the reachable par-four 10th hole, players are either bombing a driver to the left side of the green giving them a short chip or long putt, or laying up at the left edge of the fairway with a 220 yard shot to give themselves an open shot at the lateral green. The approach is tough with the pin sloping towards shaved bunkers in the back-right portion of the green. Even though it is driveable, par is acceptable on this hole.

ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur

The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA championship, was first played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is one of 14 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent amateur competition in the world. Applications are typically placed online in the spring at www.usga.org.

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