ZIMBABWE teenage golfer Sean Crocker is still in the hunt for a place in the match-play phase of the 66th United States Junior Amateur Championship, despite a difficult start in the first round of strokeplay qualifying on Monday.
REPORT BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 16-year-old Crocker carded an opening round five-over-par 77 at the Tom Fazio-designed Martis Camp Golf Club in Truckee, California to tie for position 76th on the leaderboard.
Crocker traded two birdies with five bogeys and one double bogey and despite being further down the leaderboard, he still had a chance of advancing to the matchplay phase starting tomorrow.
The final round of strokeplay qualifying was set to take place late yesterday.
The first phase of the US Junior Amateur Championships is played over two qualifying rounds of strokeplay with the top 64 players in the strong field of 156 players advancing to the matchplay phase before culminating with the 36-hole final on Saturday.
American players dominated the first round of the prestigious tournament with their young players dominating the top five spots on the leaderboard.
Corey Eddings and Scottie Scheffler each carded rounds of five-under-par 67 on Monday to tie for the lead after the first round of stroke play qualifying.
Cameron Young was alone in third place at four-under, while Jim Liu, the 2010 US Junior Amateur champion and runner-up last year, headlined a group at three-under.
Crocker, who is the son of former Zimbabwe Test cricketer Gary Crocker, was exempted for the tournament by the United States Golf Association (USGA).
The championship is open to male amateur golfers who will not have reached their 18th birthday on or before July 27 and who have a USGA handicap index not exceeding 6,4.
Past winners include Tiger Woods, who captured three consecutive Junior Amateur Championship titles from 1991-93.