THE FLATS – Recent Georgia Tech graduate Noah Norton followed his opening round of 64 Monday with a 65 Tuesday and captured medalist honors at the U.S. Amateur qualifier at the Capital City Club Crabapple course in Milton, Ga. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur for the fifth straight year and will tee it up at the 121st championship Aug. 9-15 at Oakmont, Pa.
Norton’s 11-under-par score of 129 earned him one of five spots available in the Crabapple qualifier and was two strokes clear of qualifiers Deven Patel of Johns Creek, Ga., who posted rounds of 65-66. Brent Hamm of Warner Robins, Ga. (68-64), a Trpy University junior, and Hunter Fry of Dacula, Ga. (65-67), a USC Upstate senior, tied for third place at 8-under-par 132.
The fifth qualifying spot came down to a playoff between Yellow Jacket sophomore Bartley Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.) and R.B. Clyburn of Cartersville, Ga., who attended Georgia Tech and played football as a wide receiver in the late 2000s and now works as a college basketball official. Forrester fired rounds of 68-65, while Clyburn posted 67-66 to finish at 7-under-par 133. Clyburn won the playoff to qualify, while Forrester will be the first alternate from the Crabapple site, meaning he still has a chance fill a spot in the 312-player field at Oakmont.
Norton, a Chico, Calif., native who completed his four-year Tech career in June, reached the round of 32 in the U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes last summer. He won two matches in 2017 at Rivera Country Club and lost in the opening round of the 2019 championship at Pinehurst, N.C. He also qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 2018 at Pebble Beach, Calif. This summer, he has tied for eighth place at the Northeast Amateur and 34th at the Monroe Invitational.
Rising Tech junior Andy Mao (Johns Creek, Ga.) contended for a qualifying spot after opening with a 66 Monday, but wound up tied for 10th place at 4-under-par 136 after posting a 70 Tuesday. Luka Karaulic (Dacula, Ga.), another rising Yellow Jacket junior, tied for 16th place at 1-under-par 139.
Five more current members of the Tech team will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur next week. Rising senior Ben Smith (Novi, Mich.) will attempt to qualify next Monday (July 19) at Walnut Creek Country Club in South Lyon, Mich., while rising sophomore Adam Bratton (Newburgh, Ind.) tries to secure a spot at Sand Creek Golf Club in Chesterton, Ind. Rising juniorConnor Howe (Ogden, Utah) and sophomores Christo Lamprecht (George, South Africa) and Ross Steelman (Columbia, Mo.) are entered in the qualifier next Monday and Tuesday (July 19-20) at Stonebridge Golf Club in Rome, Ga.
Former Yellow Jacket Bo Andrews, who now serves as assistant golf coach at Tennessee under former Tech assistant coach Brennan Webb, has already qualified for the U.S. Amateur with a runner-up finish at Longmeadow, Mass.
All U.S. Amateur qualifiers are 36-hole competitions, some conducted in one day, others over two days, with varying numbers of qualifying spots available. The 121st U.S. Amateur will be played Aug. 9-15 at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa., outside Pittsburgh. The last two U.S. Amateur champions have been Yellow Jackets – Tyler Strafaci in 2020 and Andy Ogletreein 2019.