White, Marsh lead U.S. Mid-Am stroke play

Mid-amateurs Todd White, left, and Nathan Smith won their Sunday singles matches at the Walker Cup. Smith's point clinched an American victory.

Mid-amateurs Todd White, left, and Nathan Smith won their Sunday singles matches at the Walker Cup. Smith's point clinched an American victory.

First-round scores

Todd White and Kevin Marsh lead the U.S. Mid-Amateur after the first round at Country Club of Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala. Both fortysomethings opened with 4-under 66 for a one-shot lead on the first day of stroke-play qualifying.

White, 45, played on the victorious U.S. Walker Cup team last month. The high school teacher from Spartanburg, S.C., birdied Nos. 16, 17 and 18 on the East Course to climb to a share of the lead.

“I managed my way around the golf course very well today,” said White, whose only bogey came on the par-4 ninth during his morning round. “I have always looked at this (stroke and match play) as two individual tournaments. I didn’t come here with the idea of just trying to make one of the top 64 (low scorers); I came here with the idea of winning stroke play.”

Marsh, a 40-year-old from Henderson, Nev., opened with a 32 on the front nine and returned a 34 on the back. Marsh won the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur.

“A lot of guys think you have to play perfect golf,” said Marsh about the two rounds of stroke play. “You don’t have to play great; you just can’t play bad. It’s really nice to play a good first round; you can play more conservative tomorrow.”

The pair is one shot ahead of two players in third, Jim Chang of San Marino, Calif., and Matthew Mattare of Jersey City, N.J.

Defending champion Nathan Smith, another Walker Cupper, is tied for 54th after a 3-over 74 on the West Course.

Information from the USGA used in this report

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