Germantown's Tim Jackson In Lead at U.S. Amateur - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

Germantown's Tim Jackson In Lead at U.S. Amateur

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Tim Jackson is equally effective against

golfers of any age.

The two-time USGA Mid-Amateur champion, who led the U.S. Senior

Open through two rounds this summer, shot a 2-under 68 on Monday to

take the lead after the first round of the U.S. Amateur

Championship.

Jackson, 50, made three birdies against one bogey at Southern

Hills Country Club. He was the lone golfer in the field of 156 at

Southern Hills to best par, while four golfers managed to shoot

1-under at Cedar Ridge Country Club in Broken Arrow.

Jackson, of Germantown, Tenn., will move across town to the

longer Cedar Ridge course Tuesday for the final qualifying round,

after which the field of 312 will be cut to 64 for match play which

runs Wednesday through Sunday at Southern Hills.

There were 61 golfers at 3-over or better and it will likely

take a score of 147 or better to move into match play. The average

score at Cedar Ridge in the opening round was 75.6 while the

average at Southern Hills was 78.5.

A former multi-sport athlete who took up golf relatively late at

age 16, Jackson won the USGA Mid-Amateur in 1994 and 2001 and

finished tied for 11th in his first U.S. Senior Open earlier this

year after leading at the halfway point.

Shooting 1-under at Cedar Ridge were Matthew Broome of

Barrington, R.I., John Peterson of Fort Worth, Texas, Will

Strickler of Gainesville, Fla. And Cameron Tringale of Laguna

Niguel, Calif. Patrick Duncan of Rancho Santa Fe., Calif., was the

lone player to post an even-par 70 at Southern Hills, while five

players shot 70 at Cedar Ridge.

Among those at 71 was Rickie Fowler, the top-ranked amateur in

the U.S.

Some of the pre-tournament favorites struggled. Canadian Matt

Hill, who won the 2009 NCAA championship at North Carolina State,

as well as seven other college tournaments and the Ontario Open,

shot 75 at Cedar Ridge, stretched to 7,336 yards at par 70 by the

USGA, which had several new tees installed prior to the tournament.

"It's a tough course," said Hill, who has played three times

on the PGA Tour this summer, including a tie for 70th at the AT&T

at Congressional. "If you get it in the rough, with the wind we

had, it was just very hard to make pars. And there are very few

birdie holes out there."

Matt Benjamin, of Rockford, Ill., who upset Canadian Nick Taylor

in the finals of the U.S. Public Links Championship in Norman,

Okla., struggled to a 77 at Cedar Ridge, while Taylor, also

regarded as a contender, shot 80 at Southern Hills.

"This is a much tougher field and a much more difficult

course," Benjamin said. You have to be on top of your game and I

wasn't today."

Jackson is constantly asked why he hasn't turned professional.

He much prefers the amateur game.

"It's all I've known," Jackson said. "I started playing golf

by accident when I was 16. I was a baseball player and we got

rained out and a bunch of us went to the driving range. I was a

good athlete, but golf was the hardest thing I've ever tried to do.

It just got me."

In addition to the two Mid-Amateur wins, Jackson has twice been

a member of the U.S. Walker Cup team and would like to captain the

team in the future.

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