Geyger is Tulsa’s hometown hero

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TULSA, Okla. – A Chilean is Tulsa’s hometown hero at the U.S. Amateur. Nico Geyger, who graduated from the University of Tulsa earlier this year with a degree in communications, beat Derek Ernst, 1 up, in Wednesday’s first round.

Geyger said he played Southern Hills “every Tuesday for four years,” while playing for the Golden Hurricane.

His home-course advantage didn’t help too much, Wednesday, though.

“It didn’t help me that much because I wasn’t playing great,” Geyger said, “but it always helps a lot to know where to hit it.”

He stayed amateur this summer so he could play in his first U.S. Amateur after earning an exemption with his sixth-place finish at last year’s World Amateur Team Championship. His brother, Michi Geyger, flew to Oklahoma from Chile to caddie for him.

Geyger, who is from Santiago, Chile, had never seen Tulsa until three days before classes started his freshman year. He was recruited by Tulsa coach Bill Brogden after playing a handful of AJGA events in 2004.

“I don’t regret it at all,” Geyger said. “It was perfect. A great decision.”

He will face Australia’s Matt Smith in the second round. Geyger will attempt PGA Tour Q-School later this year.