E.A. Sports Today

‘A lot to take in’

McGatha, Rogers open USGA Four-Ball at Winged Foot with 76, play early Sunday on famed West Course to wrap up stroke play

By East Alabama Sports Today

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Jeremy McGatha and Matt Rogers have played a lot of good golf and golf courses in their careers, but nothing they’ve done could have prepared them for what they faced Saturday.

Playing in the newest USGA national championship at a venue that has brought the best players in the world to their knees, the two Calhoun County players shot a 6-over-par 76 that left them back in the pack after the opening round of the USGA Four-Ball Championship at famed Winged Foot.

The top 32 teams after Sunday’s second round of stroke play qualifying advance to match play.

McGatha and Rogers didn’t have any blow-up holes on the East Course, where they shot 71 in their practice round, but made six bogeys. They had two on the front to turn in 2-over, three in a row early in the back nine and 18.

“It wasn’t the hard holes, it was the easy holes,” Rogers said. “We just didn’t have our best today.

“We play a lot of good golf, this is just a different beast. There’s nothing at home like this. Even some of the good courses in Birmingham and Atlanta and it’s still nothing like this. We’ve got a lot to take in – first time in New York City and this golf course. The golf course is like Times Square to us, plus we have Times Square, too. It’s a lot.”

Andrew Whalen of Ephrata, Wash., and Dylan Wu of Medford, Ore., lead the qualifying after an 8-under 62 on the East Course. Three other teams shot 63. The current cutline is 2-under.

“Those scores … that was some good shooting out there,” McGatha said. “It was a struggle (for them). We don’t have any excuses. We hadn’t made a putt in three days and the greens are perfect. Just stuff we’re not used to. We should’ve had two or three birdies, but didn’t get them.

“The guys we played with, they shot 70. We hit the ball every bit as good as them. They made some putts and we didn’t.”

They’ll play Sunday at 8:42 a.m. local time on the West Course that has hosted U.S. Opens and PGA Championships, then head back home with memories for a lifetime.

Live scoring and leaderboard updates can be found at usga.org.

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