JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – A pair of Southeastern Conference college players, Lee McCoy, 20, of Clarkesville, Ga., and Taylor Moore, 21, of Edmond, Okla., shared medalist honors by three strokes Tuesday at the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship with 36-hole stroke-play qualifying totals of 8-under-par 135.
Both played their second round on Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course, with McCoy, a junior at Georgia, notching a 3-under-par 68, and Moore, a junior at Arkansas, firing a 2-under-par 69.
McCoy, a second-team All-American playing in his third U.S. Amateur, who resides about 65 miles from Atlanta Athletic Club, recorded six birdies, one double bogey and one bogey for his 68.
I couldn't be any happier, said McCoy of sharing the medal. Well, I guess I could be. I'd like to be holding the trophy at the end of the week but that being said, it is a long week. It's great to be a high seed going into the weekend, but you know, main goal is still in check. I am still trying to get that trophy.
Moore, a Ping second-team all-region selection in 2014, carded five birdies and three bogeys in his second round.
It is pretty cool and it shows that I played well for two days and had a lot of chances for birdies, said Moore of earning the qualifying medal. It ranks up there pretty high – maybe number one."
McCoy, the 2012 Georgia High School Player of the Year at Habersham Central who is playing in his first U.S. Amateur, was buoyed by local support.
Oh, it's awesome, he said. I got so many ‘Go Dawgs’ out there on the golf course today it was unbelievable. I didn't hear any ‘Go Jackets’ from anybody, so that was good. It's awesome to be so close to home, and I've got plenty of friends and family out here to support me this week.
Moore, who was the SEC co-freshman of the year and advanced to match play at the Western Amateur in 2013, viewed his position matter of factly.
I just tried to treat stroke play as a tournament within a tournament and still compete and stay aggressive today, which I did, but I wasn't as sharp (as Monday), said Moore. I just kind of used it as a practice round for match play, in a way, getting another look at the course, but still hitting shots and trying to make putts and figuring out the greens. I think I did a good job of that.
The 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship consists of 36 holes of stroke play followed by six rounds of match play, with the championship scheduled to conclude with a 36-hole final on Sunday.
The U.S. Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
The co-medalists’ match-play opponents will be determined in a 17-man playoff for four berths, which begins Wednesday at 8 a.m. on the first hole of the companion Riverside Course. The cut for the playoff came at 2-over-par 145, and the players include four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and three-time USA Walker Cup Team player Nathan Smith.
Behind McCoy and Moore were five players at 5-under-par 138: Kennesaw (Ga.) State senior Jimmy Beck, 21, of Columbus, Ga., a co-leader after the first round; Sam Burns, 18, of Shreveport, La., who shot the day’s low round of 66 on the Riverside; 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Will Zalatoris, 17, of Plano, Texas; 2014 British Open competitor and 2012 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist Cheng-Tsung Pan, 22, of Chinese Taipei and Jonathan Garrick, 20, of Atherton, Calif.
Also advancing to match play were 2013 U.S. Amateur semifinalist Corey Conners of Canada and three other USGA champions: Byron Meth (2014 U.S. Amateur Public Links), Jordan Niebrugge (2013 U.S. Amateur Public Links), and Scottie Scheffler (2013 U.S. Junior Amateur).
Mike McCoy, the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion, was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
In addition to Lee McCoy and Beck, four other players from Georgia advanced to match play: Georgia Tech All-American Ollie Schniederjans of Powder Springs, who holds the No.1 world ranking, fellow Yellow Jacket Seth Reeves of Sewanee, Chris Waters of Atlanta and Mookie DeMoss of Duluth.