Akshay Bhatia and Grayson Wotnosky of Wake Forest said they hoped to have fun and post low scores at the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship in Pinehurst.
The two posted a score of 4-under-par 66 Saturday and were tied for eighth place after the first round of stroke-play qualifying in the U.S. Golf Association event. Bhatia and Wotnosky had five birdies and a bogey on the Pinehurst No. 2 course as 128 two-man teams competed on the No. 2 and No. 8 courses at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club.
The team of Wilson Furr and Davis Shore had the day’s low score, an 8-under 63 at Pinehurst No. 8. Furr and Shore, both highly ranked junior golfers, will be college teammates at Alabama next fall.
Bhatia, 15, and Wotnosky, who recently turned 16, will play the No. 8 course Sunday in the second and final round of qualifying.
The top 32 teams will advance to match play, which begins Monday at No. 2. The championship match will be played Wednesday.
Bhatia and Wotnosky qualified in October for the USGA event. Bhatia recently made it through local qualifying for the 2017 U.S. Open, carding a 70 at Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh.
The low scores on the famed No. 2 course Saturday were a pair of 5-under 65s.
Bhatia and Wotnosky birdied the first and fifth holes Saturday, then had a strong of three straight birdies beginning at the par-5 10th hole to move to 5-under. Their bogey came at the 485-yard, par-4 16th hole.
Of the low 20 scores Saturday, 15 came on Pinehurst No. 8.
The team of Greensboro’s Scott Harvey and Todd Mitchell of Bloomington, Ill. had a 66 at No. 8.