LOS ANGELES – Charleston Southern senior Art Griffin sits in fourth place through 18 holes of stroke play at the United States Amateur after firing a four-under par 66 on Monday at Bel-Air Country Club. Griffin's sterling effort puts him in prime position to advance to the match play portion of amateur golf's premier event. The field will be dwindled from 312 players to 64 following Tuesday's second round, which Griffin will play at nearby Riviera Country Club.
Griffin is seeking to become the second player in CSU history to advance to match play, joining former teammate Austin James, who did so each of the last two years. Griffin rattled off an eagle and three birdies en route to a four-under front nine and came in at even par 34 to cement his place near the top of the leaderboard. Only Oregon's Norman Xiong, the world's ninth-ranked amateur, Virginia Tech's Mark Lawrence Jr. and Oklahoma State's Hayden Wood – all at -6 – were better than Griffin on Monday.
Fellow CSU senior Jacques Wilson is at +4, four strokes back of the current cut line, after shooting a 74 at Riviera. Both Griffin and Wilson are scheduled to tee off Tuesday's second round at 2 p.m. PDT (5 p.m. EDT). Griffin will begin play off the tenth hole at Riviera, while Wilson will start off No. 1 at Bel-Air.
Griffin, making his second straight appearance in U.S. Amateur stroke play, carded six birdies and an eagle on Monday. He started with a birdie at the par-four first and dropped in another at the par-three third around a bogey at No. 2. The Lake Placid, N.Y., native then posted three consecutive pars before rolling in back-to-back birdies at No. 7 and No. 8, challenging for the outright lead.
Following a double bogey on the par-three tenth, Griffin rebounded with birdies at 11, 14 and 15 to surge to -5, his high-water mark of the day. Griffin bogeyed the long, difficult par-four 17th but came back with a par at the closing hole to cap a banner day.
Wilson also started his round with a birdie but it would be his only one of the day. He played a mostly steady round, with 12 pars, and will look to shoot a low number Tuesday to give himself a chance to surge into the top-64.