Aussie Taylor Macdonald finds his rhythm in U.S.

Australian Taylor Macdonald during the first round of the U.S. Amateur at Atlanta Athletic Club.

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – When you know your strengths, play to them.

That’s how Australian Taylor Macdonald is going about his four-week business trip in the United States.

Just as the 112th Western Amateur at The Beverly two week ago, Atlanta Athletic Club’s two golf courses this week for the U.S. Amateur (one is a companion course for stroke play) are for long and straight drivers of the ball, and Macdonald believes that plays to his strengths.

Besides the long ball, Macdonald and Golf Australia National team coach Tony Meyer have been working on his confidence.

“I go to tournaments thinking I can win them (now), which is really good, instead of trying to make cuts and all those things,” Macdonald said.

It’s proving to be true.

Macdonald, 26th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, shot a 3-under 68 in the first round of stroke play at the Amateur on Monday on the Highlands course. He’ll play the Riverside course early Tuesday morning.

Currently, he's in a tie for third heading into the final day of stroke play.

Since arriving in mid-July, Macdonald he has excelled quite quickly on the course.

First, Macdonald took part in Golf Australia’s National Team camp, which was held at The Woodlands (Texas). At the camp, players on the national team work with swing coaches, psychologists and strength and conditioning coaches after the first half of summer play. Most players come over in June and play throughout the summer.

Though for Macdonald, it was just the beginning of his play.

In his second summer in the States, he is making only two starts before heading back Down Under.

The 22-year-old was one of four Aussies to advance to the Sweet Sixteen at the Western Amateur. This week, Macdonald's making his second consecutive Amateur appearance.

After missing match play in 2013, his goal this week – like most players – is to advance to the Round of 64 and just have a shot holding the Havemeyer Trophy at week’s end.

"The golf courses are always immaculate (in the U.S.) and the people are really friendly," Macdonald added. "It’s always a struggle going home."

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