Clemson, S.C.—Miller Capps and Billy Kennerly were both eliminated in the first round of the 2015 United States Amateur on Wednesday afternoon at the Olympia Fields North Course near Chicago, Ill. Capps, who will be a senior this year, and Kennerly, who graduated last May, were the first Clemson duo to reach match play since 2009.
Capps qualified for match play by scoring a 142 over the 36 holes of stroke play qualifying, good enough for 36th place. Kennerly shot one stroke more for the 36 holes and had to enter an 18-player playoff for 10 spots. He scored a birdie on the second hole of the playoff, the par five 18th hole.
Capps was paired with Austin James in the first round and James was the victor, 4&3. It was a tough draw for Capps because James had shot a 65 on the North Course during stroke play qualifying, the low score out of the 312 golfers who played the course during qualifying.
James won the first two holes, then Capps cut the margin to 1-up with a birdie on the fourth hole. The margin was just 2-up when Capps won the 13th hole, but James then won the final two holes to gain the victory.
Kennerly faced Matt NeSmith in the first round and the contest went the distance before NeSmith gained the victory 1-up. NeSmith won the first hole, a 627-yard par five, with a birdie. Kennerly tied the match when he made a par on the third hole.
NeSmith was three-up through 14, but Kennerly won the 15th with a 10-foot birdie and then won the 17th with a short birdie putt to close the game to 1-up. But the two players both made par on the final hole and NeSmith had the victory.
This year marked the first time in six years that Clemson had two different players reach match play of the United States Amateur. In 2009, Ben Martin reached the finals and Phillip Mollica reached the final eight. It is the only year in history two Clemson golfers reached the quarterfinals.
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