While Reynolds Plantation’s Great Waters Course in Greensboro isn’t Kennesaw State’s home course, it sure felt like it for Jimmy Beck and Austin Vick.
Beck and Austin, rising senior standouts on the Owls’ golf team, each claimed a qualifying berth for the U.S. Amateur, which will take place at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek next month.
A third Owl, Christopher Guglielmo, nearly made it as well, but he had to settle for being first alternate.
Beck shot a 4-under par 68 on Tuesday, matching his score from the opening round. He got off to a slow start with a bogey on the first hole, but quickly rallied with a birdie on the second.
Beck added another birdie on the front nine and three more on the back to finish at 136 overall and tie for medalist honors with Clemson’s Blake Kennedy. Georgia Tech’s Bo Andrews was third at 138.
Andrews will be joined in Johns Creek by his Georgia Tech teammate, Harrison High School product Ollie Schniederjans, who made the field as the world’s No. 1 amateur.
Beck credited his knowledge of the course as a major factor in his impressive finish. Kennesaw State has co-hosted the collegiate Linger Longer Invitational at Great Waters each of the past four years.
“I’ve been on this golf course more times than a lot of the other golfers, so I had the right mindset going in,” Beck said. “When you only get two rounds to compete, it helps to have some knowledge of the course, so I think that benefited me.
“I started the round with a wayward tee shot and got a bogey, so that was disappointing. I birdied the next hole, which got back my momentum, and I never lost it. I played as well (Tuesday) as I did Monday.”
The U.S. Amateur will be Beck’s first USGA-sanctioned event, and he’s eager to take part in the experience.
“I have been looking forward to this for a while,” he said. “It’s in Atlanta, so to have the opportunity to participate is exciting.”
Vick was among seven golfers who shot 139, so a playoff was held to determine the final two qualifying spots and the two alternate positions.
Vick, Guglielmo, Georgia’s Mookie DeMoss and Georgia State’s J.J. Grey each birdied the first playoff hole (No. 18), eliminating Zane Goldthorp of Tucker, Georgia’s Greyson Sigg and Mercer’s Emmanuel Kountakis.
Vick then parred the second playoff hole (No. 10) to secure a qualifying spot, while DeMoss and Guglielmo both made bogey and Grey made double bogey to fall out of contention.
That left DeMoss and Guglielmo to move on to the third playoff hole (No. 11), where DeMoss made birdie to earn the final qualifying spot. Guglielmo was named the first alternate, and Grey the second.
Vick was in the hunt for a qualifying berth after shooting 70 Monday. After birdie on his first two holes Tuesday, three bogeys dropped him back.
“I knew I needed to go 3- or 4-under for my round to have a decent shot at qualifying,” Vick said. “I tried not to get too ahead of myself, and when I made the turn at 1-over, I knew I had to make something happen.”
Like Beck, Vick’s knowledge of the course benefited him. He went on a run with consecutive birdies at 12, 13 and 14 to move to 4-under overall. A bogey on 16 kept him in the hunt, but birdies on 17 and 18 pushed him to 5-under and left him waiting to find out if he’d be in a playoff.
“I just got hot,” Vick said. “I made five birdies and one bogey on the back nine to seal the deal. It was nerve-wracking waiting for everybody to come in.”
Vick waited a little over an hour before the playoff started. The wait helped him stay loose and calm his nerves.
“That was a big help,” he said. “The other guys came off the course and went right into the playoff. I think that messed with their heads a little bit, while I was the first player to qualify.”
Michael Garretson, a former Harrison High School and current South Alabama standout, shot 74 on Tuesday, leaving him at 143 for the tournament.
Kennesaw’s Daniel Kim shot 146, while Walton graduate Michael Sheahan and Lassiter graduate Adam Wright each shot 147. Acworth’s Rusty Womack and Marietta resident Matthew Hayes each shot 149.