JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Zack Jaworski’s U.S. Amateur experience did not go exactly like he hoped, but the former Milton golfer left Atlanta Athletic Club with a lot of positive memories.
Jaworski came close to advancing to match play in the championship, but wound up two shots short of getting into a playoff for the final four spots.
The rising junior at Vanderbilt shot 4-over 147 for 36 holes. A 145 total was required to get into a playoff, which consisted of 17 players.
Jaworski shot 3-over 75 on the Riverside course the first day, and followed with a 1-over 72 on Highlands, the course used for match play.
“It was exciting to be here,” Jaworski said after concluding his second round of stroke play qualifying. “I had a lot of family and friends here and took all that in.”
Jaworski also qualified for the U.S. Amateur two years ago, competing at Cherry Hills in Denver. He also missed the cut there by a handful of shots, but came away from his appearance at Atlanta Athletic Club with a little different feeling.
“This time I really enjoyed it,” he said, noting that it was “definitely a positive,” to be able to play an event like the U.S. Amateur in his hometown.
“It was great to have that support,” he said.
From a golf standpoint, however, things could have gone a little better for Jaworski.
“I definitely had high expectations, and I’m a little disappointed I didn’t make it to match play,” he said. “Yesterday I did not hit my driver well, and I did not make enough putts. My short game bailed me out, but I expected to play better than I did.”
Jaworski had four birdies on his scorecard the first day on the Riverside course, but five bogeys and a double bogey on the par-4 15th left him with a 75.
He needed to shoot under par the next day on Highlands to have a chance of qualifying for match play, and was even par on his round after a birdie on the par-4 13th. But Jaworski took a bogey on the tough, par-3 15th and parred in from there for a 72.
Former Northview golfer David Kleckner had a nightmarish opening round on Riverside, but came back with a respectable 75 the next day at Highlands to finish with a 162 total.
Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans had the best finish of any of the Atlanta area golfers in the field, advancing to the third round of match play before losing 1-up to San Diego State golfer Gunn Yang. Schniederjans, who played his high school golf at Harrison in Cobb County, came into the tournament as the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world.
Also qualifying for match play were Bo Andrews and Seth Reeves, Schniederjans’ Georgia Tech teammates. Andrews advanced to the second round, with Reeves, a former Peachtree Ridge golfer, losing 1-up to Gunn in the first round.
University of Georgia golfers Lee McCoy and Mookie DeMoss also lost in the opening round. McCoy shared medalist honors in stroke play qualifying with an 8-under 135 total and was the No. 1 seed, but drew four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith in the first round and lost on the 19th hole. DeMoss, from Duluth, led his match on the back nine, but lost 1-up.
Also losing in the first round was Kennesaw State golfer Jimmy Beck, the 2013 Georgia Amateur champion and 2014 Georgia Open runner-up. Beck, who tied for third in stroke play qualifying, lost 1-up.
Gwinnett golfer Zach Healy, who will be a freshman at Georgia, was one of four players to survive the 17-man playoff, but also lost his first round match. Atlanta mid-amateur Chris Waters made it to match play but lost his opener to Andrews.