Davis Thompson (Georgia Athletics photo)
Davis Thompson bogeyed the fourth hole for the second-straight day but was his only mistake today, as he matched the low round of the tournament (68) and took command of the Jones Cup with one round to play.
Thompson, who lives in St. Simons Island (next to Sea Island) is a junior at University of Georgia. Last year, he finished runner here at Ocean Forest to Akshay Bhatia.
"I didn’t make a lot of mistakes today," said Thompson.
"I got a bad break on No. 4, when I hit in to the pine straw and had three pine cones around my ball, which led to my only bogey of the day. "but I chipped in on 12 which was huge because I was in an awkward spot and could have easily made bogey but ended up with a birdie."
Thompson, said the course was in phenomenal shape, with greens he said were rolling at perfect "putt-making speed."
"It’s nice to stay at home and sleep in your own bed for a big amateur event," he added.
At 6-under 138 through 36 holes, Thompson is trailed by Westpoint, MS high school junior Cohen Trolio (who matched Thompson's 68 today to get to 4-under).
Last summer, Trolio had the amateur golf world buzzing when he made it to the semi-finals of the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst, despite being outdriven by 50 yards by some of his opponents. His father V.J. is the teaching professional at Old Waverly Country Club.
It's certainly not unheard of for young players to excel at the Jones Cup -- some of them have experienced the course at the Jones Cup Junior (played in December). Last year's champion Akshay Bhatia was a teenager when he brought home the title -- he has since turned professional. (Alas, Bhatia shot 4-over to miss the cut this weekend in Saudi Arabia.)
Another shot back at 3-under is University of Illinois golfer David Perkins. Another five players are tied at 2-under 142 -- any of them could post a low number to make a final round charge. First round leader Chris Gotterup got to 6-under after birdies on two of the first three holes, but he found the bogey train after that, and soared to a 77 to drop down to T16.
FIRST ROUND RECAP
by Shawn Allen
It's official, another season of amateur golf is underway.
The biggest event on the Majors of Amateur Golf spring calendar teed off at Ocean Forest Golf Club in Sea Island, Georgia.
Chris Gotterup, a Junior on the Rutgers University Golf Team, opened the Jones Cup today with a 4-under 68 and holds a one shot lead. He is trailed by Julien Sale, a Senior at Arkansas State, with two other golfers tied for third at 2-under. Ocean Forest isn't known for giving up low rounds, and today was no different.
Gotterup divided his score with a balanced 34-34 on each nine, carding three birdies and one bogey per side. Notably, three of the Little Silver, NJ, native’s birdies came on three of the most difficult holes on the course, including the toughest, a 618 yard par-5.
This level of play is not unexpected for Gotterup, after a successful Fall NCAA season. He was the highest ranked golfer in the Big Ten Conference and is ranked 33rd in the NCAA with an adjusted scoring average of 70.11 that included a victory at the Fighting Irish Classic -- where he posted 14-under over three rounds.
Gotterup’s showing is significant as he is one of only nine other golfers under par in a stacked field that includes four players inside the WAGR Top 20- John Pak (6), Davis Thompson (9), John Augenstein (12), and Joseph Pagdin (16).
In only two more rounds, a new player will add his name to a list that includes some of the world's top ranked pros.
ABOUT THE Jones Cup
The Jones Cup is probably the biggest of the
amateur majors in the United States, and the reason
is the venue and the strong U.S. and
international field. The past champions list is littered
with PGA Tour stars, including Justin Thomas,
Patrick Reed, Luke List, Kyle Stanley, Beau Hossler
This 54-hole individual stroke-play event,
in 2001, is played at Ocean Forest Golf Club.
The Rees Jones design opened in 1995 and has
the Georgia State Amateur Championship, the
Southern Amateur Championship and the 2001
Cup Match. The Jones Cup brings together
many of the finest amateurs from the United States
and abroad for a three-day competition.
The Jones Cup was born from a deep commitment to
amateur golf by the A.W. Jones family, who
founded the Cloister and Sea Island Golf Club in
The Sea Island Golf Club has played host to
seven USGA championships. The Jones Cup is yet
another extension of the family's strong
involvement in amateur golf.
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