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Three Tie for US Amateur Lead

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. -- Conner Robbins of Bremerton, Wash., Zach Atkinson of Coppell, Texas, and Alan Weant of Germantown, Tenn., shot 5-under 65s Monday in the opening round of stroke play at the 102nd U.S. Amateur.
 
Just 26 of 312 players were under par on Oakland Hills' two courses.
 
John Klauk of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Jeremy Lyons of Glenwood City, Wis., and Jerry Courville of Milford, Conn., were the only golfers to break 70 on the famed, and much more difficult South Course, which has played host to six U.S. Opens and will be the site of the Ryder Cup in 2004.
 
Both Klauk and Lyons shot 67s along with Bill Haas, son of pro Jay Haas, of Greer, S.C., Russ Cunningham of DeWitt, Mich., D.J. Trahan of Inman, S.C., and Camilo Benedetti of Gainesville, Fla.
 
Courville was in a group of seven at 2 under, including Kevin Stadler, son of pro Craig Stadler, of Engelwood, Colo.
 
Joseph Bramlett ' at 14 years, 4 months and 12 days ' became the youngest to compete in the U.S. Amateur. The Saratoga, Calif. native shot a 7-over 77.
 
Robbins, a 22-year-old senior at Washington, had six birdies and a bogey in hitting 17 greens.
 
``I kind of felt good coming in here, but you don't expect to shoot 5 under on a course like this in a tournament like this,'' Robbins said.
 
Weant, a 21-year-old junior at Memphis, had six birdies ' four on the four par-3s ' and one bogey.
 
``I posted a good score and it gives me a little bit of room to work with,'' Weant said.
 
Atkinson, a 20-year-old junior at North Texas, made seven birdies and had two bogeys.
 
``I'll be feeling good going over to the South Course,'' Atkinson said. ``I felt like I needed to make some ground up here because the South is really tough.''
 
Ben Hogan, who won the 1951 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills, dubbed the course: ``The Monster.''
 
The rough is 2 1/2 inches when members of the private club play, but it's about twice as thick this week as the USGA toughened up the course to make it match the conditions of the 1996 U.S. Open played here.
 
Klauk, who has completed his eligibility at Texas, was 4 under after hitting the first nine greens, but was 1 over on the back nine.
 
``If you hit it in the rough, you're hacking it out,'' said Klauk, who won the Western Amateur two weeks ago. ``I bogeyed 11 and that was the first time I hit it in the rough. I walked away from it, then when I went back, I had to search around for it.''
 
After 18 holes on Tuesday, the field will be cut to 64 for the match-play portion of the tournament. There will be one round of match play each day, with two rounds Thursday, leading up to Sunday's 36-hole final.
 
The winner will get his name on the Havemeyer Trophy alongside stars such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as well as Hall of Famers Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Bobby Jones.
 
If the winner remains an amateur, he gets an automatic berth into the next U.S. Open and traditionally has been invited to play in the following Masters.
Ben Dickerson is not eligible to defend his title because he turned professional.