PINEHURST, N.C. — The good news for Andres Brictson is he didn't play himself out of contention Monday on the first day of the U.S. Amateur Championship, as did more than a few in the 312-man field.
But Brictson certainly has work to do if he wants to play past Tuesday. The Oklahoma Christian standout shot a 3-over-par 73 on Course No. 4 at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, putting him in a tie for 103rd place.
The top 64 after Tuesday's second round will advance to match play, with the projected cut line looking to be about 1-over, with a playoff likely for the final spots. Brictson and his playing partners – Tyler Wilkes, a rising high school senior from Tampa, Fla., and James Nicholas, who just finished his senior season at Yale – will tee off at 7:39 a.m. Central time on the famed Pinehurst No. 2, which is considered one of the world's elite golf courses.
Brictson, a rising junior from Merida, Mexico, started on hole No. 9 on Monday and found himself 2-over through four holes on the 7,246-yard course, but he steadied himself with birdies on the par-4 No. 16 and the par-5 No. 17 and was at even par after 10 holes.
But three straight bogeys on holes No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 – all long par 4s, with No. 2 playing at a whopping 523 yards – put him back at 3-over. He birdied the par-3 No. 4, but gave that shot back with a bogey on the par-4 No. 7.
Brictson became only the second OC player ever to qualify for the U.S. Amateur by finishing second in a sectional qualifier played last month at Club Campestre de la Ciudad de México in Mexico City.
He had an outstanding sophomore season this spring for the Eagles, winning twice, recording a stroke average of 72.82 over 33 rounds and earning All-Heartland Conference first-team honors while helping his team qualify for the NCAA Division II South Central-West Super Regional.
His first collegiate win came in March in the St. Edward's Invitational at Onion Creek Club's North Course in Austin, Texas. In April at the Heartland Conference Championship, Brictson shot 13-under over three rounds at Slick Rock Golf Course in Horseshoe Bay, Texas, then won a three-man playoff to earn medalist honors. Brictson played two bogey-free rounds during the conference tournament.
The U.S. Amateur has enjoyed an illustrious history of great champions, including Bob Jones, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. Last year's champion, former Oklahoma State star Viktor Hovland, recently turned pro after finishing tied for 12th at the U.S. Open in June.
The only other OC player ever to qualify for the U.S. Amateur is current Korn Ferry Tour pro Rhein Gibson, who made the field in 2006. Gibson will be back on the PGA Tour during the 2019-20 season.