Covington's Smith holds at par in tourney

LITHONIA -- Covington's Taylor Smith had some ground to make up but he was still within striking distance of qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship after first round action on Monday. Smith finished the first-qualifying round at even par, shooting a 71 on Monday at Mystery Valley Golf Club.

Kyle Cobb of Tallahassee, Fla., led after the opening round with 4-under par. The second round was not completed by press time due to a 90-minute rain delay.

Smith, a rising senior and member of the golf team at Georgia College, fell behind early bogeying the par-3, second hole of the tournament. It looked like Smith was ready to get into the mix after getting back to even with a birdie on the par-5, seventh hole. But he quickly got down again, bogeying the next hole. It wasn't until the 17th hole par-4 that Smith got back to even-par for the tournament.

Of the 67 players qualifying for the three spots and two alternates, 50 come from Georgia with a total of 10 states and four countries being represented.

Locust Grove's Davin White finished the first round in position to take one of the valued qualifying spot at 3-under par. Tied for the final spot and the two alternate positions at 2-under par are Cory Sciupider (Etowah, N.C.), Seth Reeves (Duluth), Aaron George (Dahlonega), Dan Hubert (Ridgland, S.C.) and Sepp Straka (Valdosta).

The U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, which will take place at Soldier Hollow Golf Course starting July 9 at Midway, Utah.