JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Nerves can get the best of anyone, especially a first-time U.S. Amateur participant.
Derek Bard, of New Hartford, N.Y., said he was so nervous that he basically “shanked” his first iron shot into the green on the par-4 10th – his first hole of the day.
“Honestly, that calmed me down,” Bard said. “Then I hit a good drive on 11, and hit an 8-iron there to about 3 feet, so that really calmed me down knocking that one in.”
He went on to make another birdie on No. 11 to get his round going. He finished with a 2-under 69 on Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands course Monday during the first round of stroke play at the U.S. Amateur.
That put him at T-6 after the morning wave of participants ended their rounds.
It also helped the Virginia sophomore that his father, David, is on the bag this week. He said his dad calmed him down in order to play the more difficult of the nines first and come out with a red-figured number.
“He’s been on the bag a few times,” Bard added. “He knows how I work, so we make a good team.”
The goal for all 312 players in the field is to make match play, which will begin Wednesday when the field is cut down to 64 players.
“You can’t get too far ahead of yourself,” Bard said. “Obviously, making match play is the goal because anything can happen. But you’ve got to take the first two days of stroke play seriously and just play every shot.”