Beaufort News

Clemson's Mills carries momentum through first round of Players Amateur

Coming off the biggest week of his career, Clemson golfer Corbin Mills wasn't even sure he had a game plan going into this week's 12th annual Players Amateur at Belfair Golf Club.

Maybe he doesn't need one.

Less than a week removed from winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links title in Bandon, Ore., Mills made eight birdies en route to a 5-under-par 67 on Belfair's West Course in Thursday's opening round, giving him a one-shot lead over Australian Kalem Richardson and Northwestern's Eric Chun.

As evidenced by his romp last week in Oregon, where he was the stroke play medalist before rolling through six matches in four days, Mills has been playing the best golf of his life. His sometimes balky putter has been especially dependable.

But after last week's marathon, he wasn't sure how to approach things at Belfair.

"I've had trouble trying to come up with a game plan," he said. "I talked to our sports psychologist back at (Clemson) some yesterday, and he just told me to embrace it and go have fun."

That was easy enough to do Thursday. He has his younger brother, Parker, caddying for him, and he started with four birdies in his first seven holes. Even after a three-putt double bogey at No. 8 and a bogey at No. 9, he kept his cool and rebounded with four birdies on the back nine.

Mills has plenty of company on the leaderboard, though.

Richardson and Chun are one shot back, and a group of six players including NCAA individual champion John Peterson of LSU sits two shots back.

In all, 28 players carded rounds under par.

Richardson and Chun also had their putters working well. Richardson made five birdies on the front nine before giving one shot back on the back. And Chun closed with a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 18, the last of several lengthy putts with a new putter he added to the bag in the middle of Wednesday's practice round.

The easy-going approach that served Mills so well also worked for Alabama's Hunter Hamrick, who is among the group at 3 under. Hamrick is playing his first tournament of the summer after recovering from mononucleosis and a broken thumb suffered two weeks ago.

The down time forced him to take a more cautious approach, and it paid off in a relatively clean round with four birdies and only one bogey.

"I'm just kind of easing my way around the course," Hamrick said. "Your expectations are a hair lower and you're just trying to play smart golf because you know you're not real sharp. I'm not hitting it as well as I could if I had been able to practice more, but I think I thought well and didn't make many mistakes."

If Mills keeps up the torrid pace he has set for the past two weeks, though, conservative play might not cut it. Someone will have to chase him down, or else hope he falters somewhere along the way.

"I can only get myself in trouble mentally, really," Mills said. "That's my biggest problem. As long as I stay laid-back, I can just let everything else happen and we'll add them all up at the end of the week."


Thursday, at Belfair Golf Club, West Course; Par: 72; Yardage: 7,080

First Round

Corbin Mills 67

Eric Chun 68

Kalem Richardson 68

Hunter Hamrick 69

Trey Delgreco 69

Cameron Smith 69

Max Homa 69

John Peterson 69

Todd Sinnott 69

Bank Vongvanij 70

Kramer Hickok 70

Matt Nagy 70

Matthew Stieger 70

Bo Andrews 70

Matthew Nesmith 70

Blayne Barber 71

Austin Reeves 71

Conrad Shindler 71

Chris Lane II 71

Jordan Russell 71

Jeffrey Kang 71

James White 71

Curtis Thompson 71

Michael Cromie 71

Nathan Holman 71

Ryan McCarthy 71

Todd White 71

Brant Peaper 71

Brooks Koepka 72

Ethan Tracy 72

Patrick Rodgers 72

Dominic Bozzelli 72

Wesley Bryan 73

Michael McGowan 73

Michael Hebert 73

Anthony Paolucci 73

Jack Fields 73

Crawford Reeves 73

Andrew Yun 73

Byeong-Hun An 73

Max Scodro 73

Scott Strohmeyer 74

Brett Drewitt 74

Brinson Paolini 74

Conrad Ray 74

Tommy Mou 74

Cameron Peck 74

Jon Pannone 74

Julio Vegas 74

Richy Werenski 74

Tim Hart 74

Justin Thomas 74

Harold Varner 75

Brett Patterson 75

Case Cochran 75

T.J. Mitchell 75

David Erdy 75

Cody Proveaux 75

Cory Whitsett 75

Coley Davis 75

Ben Campbell 76

Drew Czuchry 76

James Rim 77

John Voetsch 78

Drew Ernst 78

Brad Gehl 78

Chase Parker 78

Franklin Dolan 79

Tucker Wadkins 79

Patrick Grimes 79

Tarquin Macmanus 82

Morgan Hill 82

Derek Chang 83

Michael Johnson 83

Rick LaRose 84


Tee times for today's second round of the Players Amateur at Belfair Golf Club's West Course:

7:00 a.m.: Todd White, Moore; Rick LaRose, Tucson, Ariz.

7:10 a.m.: Ethan Tracy, Hillard, Ohio; Jeffrey Kang, Southern California

7:20 a.m.: David Erdy, Indiana University; Curtis Thompson, LSU

7:30 a.m.: John Voetsch, New Vernon, N.J.; Trey Delgreco, Vanderbilt University

7:40 a.m.: Blayne Barber, Lake City, Fla.; James White, Georgia Tech

7:50 a.m.: Matthew Stieger, Narrabri, Australia; Ben Campbell, Masterton, New Zealand

8:00 a.m.: Corbin Mills, Clemson University; Andrew Yun, Chandler, Ariz.

8:10 a.m.: Brooks Koepka, Florida State University; Byeong-Hun An, Seoul, Korea

8:20 a.m.: Cameron Peck, Olympia, Wash.; Kalem Richardson, Launceston, Australia

8:30 a.m.: Conrad Shindler, Texas A&M; Anthony Paolucci, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

8:40 a.m.: Tucker Wadkins, Dallas, Texas; Jon Pannone, Bluffton

8:50 a.m.: Franklin Dolan, Wake Forest University; Nathan Holman, Melbourne, Australia

9:00 a.m.: Brinson Paolini, Duke University; Michael Hebert, Auburn University

9:10 a.m.: James Rim, University of Toronto; Bo Andrews, Georgia Tech

9:20 a.m.: Drew Czuchry, Auburn, Ga.; Michael McGowan, UNC-Chapel Hill

9:30 a.m.: Case Cochran, Texas A&M; Chris Lane II, USC Beaufort

9:40 a.m.: Brett Patterson, Middle Tennessee State; Chase Parker, University of Kentucky

9:50 a.m.: Austin Reeves, Furman University; Brant Peaper, Indiana University

10:00 a.m.: Dominic Bozzelli, Auburn University; Max Scodro, University of Notre Dame; Todd Sinnott, Essendon, Australia

10:20 a.m.: Conrad Ray, Stanford; Cody Proveaux, Leesville

10:30 a.m.: Cameron Smith, Brisbane, Australia; Justin Thomas, Goshen, Ky.

10:40 a.m.: Julio Vegas, Maturin, Venezuela; Scott Strohmeyer, Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.

10:50 a.m.: John Peterson, Ft. Worth, Texas; Bank Vongvanij, University of Florida

11:00 a.m.: Max Homa, University of California; Tim Hart, Brisbane, Australia

11:10 a.m.: Jack Fields, Southern Pines, N.C.; Ryan McCarthy, Burnie, Australia

11:20 a.m.: Tarquin Macmanus, Cairns, Australia; Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind.

11:30 a.m.: Crawford Reeves, Clemson University; Harold Varner, Gastonia, N.C.

11:40 a.m.: Hunter Hamrick, Univeristy of Alabama; Richy Werenski, Georgia Tech

11:50 a.m.: Cory Whitsett, Houston, Texas; Jordan Russell, Texas A&M

Noon: Brett Drewitt, Inverell, Australia; Wesley Bryan, Chapin

12:10 p.m.: Patrick Grimes, Palo Alton, Calif.; Coley Davis, Bluffton

12:20 p.m.: Eric Chun, Northwestern University; Tommy Mou, Bradenton, Fla.

12:30 p.m.: Brad Gehl, Oklahoma State University; Michael Cromie, University of Georgia

12:40 p.m.: Morgan Hill, Florida Atlantic University; Michael Johnson, Hoover, Ala.

12:50 p.m.: Matthew Nesmith, North Augusta; T.J. Mitchell, University of Georgia

1:00 p.m.: Derek Chang, Augusta State University; Matt Nagy, Kennesaw State University

1:10 p.m.: Drew Ernst, Seneca; Kramer Hickok, University of Texas