NeSmith medals at U.S. Open Ball Ground sectional qualifier


A couple of college golfers led the way in Ball Ground, Ga., with South Carolina rising senior Matt NeSmith taking medalist honors after torching Hawks Ridge Golf Club for a 17-under 127.

NeSmith, the No. 25 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, shot a bogey-free, 9-under 63 in his opening round and followed that up with an 8-under 64 that included an eagle at the par-5 seventh. NeSmith made his first bogey of the day on his 34th hole en route to winning by four shots over Georgia rising senior Lee McCoy.

McCoy, the No. 5 player in Golfweek‘s college rankings, went bogey-free through 36 holes, making 13 birdies to finish in second. McCoy, of Clarkesville, Ga., recently led the Bulldogs to the semifinals of the NCAA Championship.

Former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Roberto Castro took the third and final spot with a 12-under 132. Castro, a four-time All-American at Georgia Tech, will be making his third trip to the U.S. Open. He has six top-10s in 92 starts on Tour.

Franco Castro, who finished his college career at Charlotte in 2014, came up just short despite a nice run to end his second-round 67. Castro, who is the first alternate, played his final six holes in 4 under, including birdies at 17 and 18, but missed the chance to play Roberto Castro, his older brother, in a playoff by one shot.

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