Former Greenbrier golfer Chris Waters and ex-North Augusta golfer Matt NeSmith fall in U.S. Amateur match play

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Former Greenbrier golfer Chris Waters and ex-North Augusta golfer Matt NeSmith lost their first-round matches Wednesday in the U.S. Amateur on the Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course.

Waters, an Atlanta accountant who tied for eighth in stroke-play qualifying, lost 5 and 4 to Bo Andrews, of Raleigh, N.C.

“I was hitting the ball fine and then just struggled on the greens, “ Waters said. “The course is getting tough out there and they are starting to dry out and get a little crusty. I think I had three 3-putts and I was 3-down, so I was giving it all away on greens.

“Started forcing it a little bit at the end, trying to make some shots back up but at that point, it’s match play and you have to take a little bit of risk versus reward and bit me a little bit. But still had a great time.”

NeSmith, a South Caro­lina junior who tied for 43rd in stroke-play qualifying, lost 2 and 1 to Sam Burns, of Shreveport, La.

Pittsburgh financial adviser Nathan Smith, who at 36 is the oldest player left in the field, beat U.S. Amateur co-medalist Lee McCoy in 19 holes.

Smith pulled even with a birdie win on the par-3 17th, matched McCoy – the University of Georgia player junior from Clarkesville, Ga. – with a par on the par-5 18th and won with a par on the par-4 19th.

Taylor Moore, the Edmond, Okla., player and Arkansas junior who tied McCoy for medalist honors in stroke-play qualifying, also dropped out. Jesse Heinly, of Bend, Ore., beat Moore 3 and 2.

On Wednesday morning, Smith and Heinly survived a 17-man playoff for the last four match-play spots.

Another playoff survivor, Canada’s Garrett Rank beat fourth-seeded Jimmy Beck, of Columbus, Ga., 1 up. Rank, a 26-year-old hockey referee, made a 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win.

The highest seeded player to win was Taiwan’s Cheng-Tsung Pan, a senior at the University of Washington who qualified third. He beat Zach Healy, of Peachtree Corners, Ga., 4 and 2.

Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans, No. 1 in the world amateur ranking, beat Matt Teesdale of Maple Glen, Pa., 6 and 5. Second-ranked Robbie Shelton, a University of Alabama golfer also advanced, topping Dan Stringfellow, of Roselle, Ill., 2 and 1.

Will Zalatoris, of Plano, Texas, the Wake Forest-bound player who won U.S. Junior in July, beat Oklahoma State star Jordan Niebrugge 2 and 1.

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