Dubai-born star Josh Hill is in contention to advance to the match play section of the famed U.S. Amateur after an opening round of two over par at the Ridgewood Country Club.
With a premium on driving accuracy – the rough was as high as 5 inches at Ridgewood – and greens rolling about 13 feet on the Stimpmeter, the field faced a pair of U.S. Open-like setups, and the scores were reflective of that philosophy. Add some sunshine and wind to firm up the conditions and there’s a reason why only 18 of the 312 players broke par on either venue: 7,403-yard, par-71 Ridgewood, an A.W. Tillinghast design that hosted the U.S. Amateur in 1974, and 7,251-yard, par-70 Arcola.
After posting two birdies, two bogeys and a double in his opening round, Hill sits in a tie for 52nd with only the 64 lowest scores advancing to the match play. Each of the 312 competitors will switch courses for Tuesday’s second round of stroke play and should a playoff be necessary to determine the final spots in the draw, it will take place on Wednesday morning at Ridgewood.
Five of the day’s six best scores came at Ridgewood, where 3-under 68s were posted by a group led by 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Michael Thorbjornsen, of Wellesley, Mass. Fellow Bay Stater Chris Francoeur, of Amesbury, a 2022 University of Louisville graduate headed to Korn Ferry Tour Q-School later this month, matched that score.
Also shooting 68 at Ridgewood were Hazen Newman, of Las Vegas, Nev., and Campbell Kremer, of Louisville, Ky.; and Luke Gutschewski, of Elkhorn, Neb., the son of two-time Korn Ferry Tour winner and PGA Tour veteran Scott Gutschewski.
Georgia Tech rising junior Christo Lamprecht, of South Africa, had the low round at Arcola, a 2-under 68.