ATLANTA ó Matt NeSmith had a tough first round in the U.S. Amateur Championship. Playing at the Atlanta Athletic Clubís par-72 Riverside Course Monday, NeSmith shot a 3-over 75.


Heís tied for 133rd place, nine strokes off the lead and three behind what would be the cut line in stroke play qualifying. The field of 312 players will be cut to 64 after todayís round. The format then switches to match play on Wednesday, leading up to the championship on Sunday.


NeSmith, a North Augusta native and member of the South Carolina golf team, had one birdie in the first round to go with two bogeys and a double bogey. Heíll get a chance to bounce back today when he plays on the par-71 Highlands Course. NeSmith is scheduled to tee off at 8:10 a.m. on the 10th hole.


NeSmith wasnít the only player with area connections to struggle in the first round. USC Aikenís Andrew Ward shot 80 and is currently in a tie for 287th place. Playing Highlands, Ward carded two birdies, nine bogeys and a double bogey.


Jimmy Beck and British teenager Sam Horsfield shared the lead at 6-under after the first round. Beck, from Columbus, Georgia, had a 65 on Highlands and Horsfield Ė a Junior Invitational alum Ė shot 66 on Riverside. Lee McCoy of Clarkesville, Georgia, was one shot back after a 67 on Riverside. Tied for fifth at 4-under were Jonathan Garrick of Atherton, California, who shot 67 on Highlands, and Cameron Young of Scarsborough, New York, who had a 68 on Riverside.