Stratham. N.H. – Max McGreevy, 17, of Oklahoma City, Okla., fired a 4-under-par 68 to lead early finishers in stroke-play qualifying on Monday at the U.S. Junior Amateur at the 7,175-yard, par-72 Golf Club of New England.
McGreevy was delighted, and somewhat surprised, at his 4-under-par performance.
“I’ve never been east and I’ve never played in a USGA championship, so I didn’t know what to expect,” McGreevy said. “I haven’t played in a ton of big tournaments, so I didn’t have any goals, except to make match play.”
With half of the field of 156 players still on the course, McGreevy has a two-stroke lead over Joshua Lee, of Orange Park, Fla., 2010 Junior Amateur champion Jim Liu, of Smithtown, N.Y., and Nicolas Echavarria of Colombia, a semifinalist in this championship last year.
With six birdies on the day, McGreevy seems well on his way to the match-play brackets. A good second round will assure that he’s among the low 64 scorers to advance to match play after Tuesday’s final round of stroke-play qualifying.
Starting his round on the second nine, McGreevy birdied the 12th and 16th holes on putts of under 10 feet but bogeyed the 18th when he was bunkered. Four quick birdies on the first nine, against a single bogey, saved his day.
McGreevy hit a sand wedge to within 8 feet on the par-5 third hole for a birdie. He made a 25-footer on the fourth hole for another birdie and then made birdies from 5 feet and 7 feet on the sixth and seventh holes. A bogey on the sixth, where he missed the green with his approach shot, was his lone mistake of his final nine holes.
“I got here late, so I only played one practice round,” he said. “I knew I had to be calm and stay in the moment. Since this is my first USGA championship experience, I just want to enjoy it.”
McGreevy is an incoming junior at Edmond Santa Fe High School and was the 2012 Oklahoma 6A High School individual champion.
After Tuesday’s second round, the field of 156 players will be cut to the low 64 scorers for match play. Matches will be played through Saturday when the championship concludes with a scheduled 36-hole final.
Rhonda Glenn is a manager of communications for the USGA. Email her at email@example.com.