Bremerton, Wash. – Taylor Moore, 17, of Edmond, Okla., shot a 3-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead midway through the first round of stroke play Monday at the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, being played at the par-72, 7,111-yard Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club.
Moore, who is playing in his first USGA championship, admitted to some nerves prior to the first round.
I was really nervous last night and didn’t sleep that much, but it was good just to get out there and start hitting golf shots and shoot the best score I could today, said Moore, who will attend the University of Arkansas in the fall of 2012. I didn’t really think about shooting 66 or 67, I just went about my business and made a few putts here and there.
His longest putt came on the par-4, 444-yard 13th hole, when he made a 25-footer for birdie. He recorded five birdies and two bogeys.
For Moore, the key to his round was consistency.
I played good off the tee box all day, finding the fairway, said Moore, whose 13-year-old brother Payton is serving as his caddie. I was trying to hit as many greens as possible, trying to give myself some birdie putts. I had two mistakes on eight and nine back-to-back, which kind of broke up the flow of my round, but I got it back on the back side.
One stroke off Moore’s pace was 17-year-old Yi Keun Chang of Walnut, Calif., who recorded four birdies and a bogey en route to a 2-under 70. The highlight of his round came at the par-4, 324-yard 18th, where he made a 25-footer for birdie.
Chang, who arrived at Gold Mountain just hoping to make the cut, said he won’t change his approach for the second round of stroke play Tuesday.
My approach is still the same – shoot for 72 and make the cut, said Chang, who failed to qualify for match play in his other previous Junior Amateur appearance in 2008.
The only other sub-par round of the morning wave came from James Park, 16, of Korea, who recorded a 1-under 71. A trio of players – Andy Shim, 16, of Duluth, Ga., Anthony Vecchiarelli, 17, of Agawam, Mass., and Cameron Smith, 17, of Australia – all finished at even-par 72.
Among the field’s 78 players who will play their first round Monday afternoon are two past U.S. Junior Amateur champions, 2009 winner Jordan Spieth, 17, of Dallas, Texas, and reigning champion Jim Liu, 15, of Smithtown, N.Y.
After a second day of stroke play Tuesday, the U.S. Junior Amateur field will be reduced to 64 players for match play. The first round of match play is scheduled for Wednesday, the second and third rounds will be played Thursday, the quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played Friday, and the 36-hole championship final will be played Saturday.
The U.S. Junior Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Beth Murrison, USGA Manager of Championship Communications. For questions or comments, contact her firstname.lastname@example.org.