Up-and-down first round

  • South Deerfield’s Jacob Zaranek opened his U.S. Amateur Championship with a 5-over on Monday at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club and sits in a tie for 152nd place entering this morning’s Round 2 in Pinehurst, N.C. FILE PHOTO/DAVID COLT-MASSGOLF

Staff Writer
Published: 8/12/2019 9:28:10 PM
Modified: 8/12/2019 9:28:06 PM

To say that Jacob Zaranek’s opening round of the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship was eventful would be a considerable understatement.

The 20-year-old South Deerfield resident’s scorecard saw a little of everything during Monday’s Round 1 of the biggest amateur golf tournament in the country. In the end, the Fairfield University rising junior carded a 5-over round of 75, putting him into a tie for 152nd place on Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s No. 4 course in Pinehurst, N.C.

Zaranek will have some work to do in his second round this morning, where he’ll tee off on the famed No. 2 course at Pinehurst at 9:10 a.m. The top 64 players after today’s second round of stroke play make the cut into the single-elimination match play portion of the event, set to begin on Wednesday.

It was an up-and-down opening round for Zaranek. Making his U.S. Am debut, he teed off on No. 9 and birdied his first hole of the day before following with back-to-back pars.

He ran into his first trouble of the round on No. 12, bogeying it, and followed with a double-bogey on the par 4 13th hole to fall back to 2-over through five holes. The 13th hole played as the hardest hole in the round for the field, with a whopping 4.628 average. Twenty golfers recorded double bogeys at No. 13.

Like he has throughout the summer however, Zaranek rallied with a strong stretch of holes. After pars on Nos. 14 and 15, he rattled off three straight birdies to move back to red numbers at 1-under and into the top 20 of the field for the time being. The three birdies came on the three holes that played the easiest in Monday’s round — Nos. 16, 17 and 18. The birdie on No. 17 came on the course’s longest hole, a mammoth 594-yard par 5, and he was right in the thick of things making the turn to the front nine after playing 10 holes in total.

Zaranek did not have the same fortune on the front nine, however. Double bogeys on Nos. 1 and 4 sandwiched a bogey on No. 2 and a birdie on No. 3. He closed out his round with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8, and his 5-over par 40 on the front nine holes was the difference.

While his opening 18 has him on the outside looking in at the current cut line, Zaranek can take away some positives from Monday. He sank five birdies during his first round, showing that he does have the ability to go low to get into the top 64. The cut line was hovering between 1-over and 2-over after Monday.

Brandon Wu of Scarsdale, N.Y. was the leader after Monday’s first round. Wu, who also played the No. 4 course, shot 5-under 65 to put him in sole possession of the top spot. Palmer Jackson and Trevor Werbylo were one shot behind at 4-under. Just 27 of the 312 golfers in the field finished their opening rounds under par. Fifty-two golfers carded rounds of 80 or higher.

Wellesley’s Michael Thorbjornsen had the low round for a Bay State golfer on Monday. The 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion shot 1-under 69 and is in a tie for 19th place.

Zaranek will tee off the first hole on the No. 2 course this morning with playing partners Ryan Grider (Lewisville, Texas), who shot 73 on Monday, and Kyle Sterbinsky (Yardley, Pa.), who shot 74.

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