The former Etowah High School standout and current Georgia Tech freshman was one of the first to finish his round, coming in with a 5-under 65. Albertson kept his place in the lead until later in the afternoon, when Mitch Krywulycz, a former Augusta State golfer from Australia, turned in a 64.
Still, Albertson’s was guaranteed a spot in the U.S. Open sectional, which will take place June 4 at The River Club in Suwanee. He was one of nine players that qualified.
“I hit a lot of great shots in the front (nine) and made some great putts,” Albertson said. “I didn’t do as great on the back but managed to hit some up-and-downs.”
The nine qualifiers, along with two alternates, will compete in the 36-hole sectional. The top finishers there will earn invitations to the U.S. Open, set for the following week at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Monday’s qualifier was the second of two in Georgia. Ten players advanced from Newnan on May 8.
Two Kennesaw State teammates also qualified for the sectional. Senior Matt Nagy and Ben Greene both shot bogey-free rounds to finish at 66 and 67, respectively.
Nagy is attempting to qualify for his second U.S. Open after making the 2009 tournament at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y. He was the second alternate after that year’s local qualifier — also at Marietta Country Club — and got into the sectional at Ball Ground’s Hawks Ridge Golf Club only after two qualifiers backed out.
Erik Flores, Curt Sanders, Richard Swift and Richard Spangler each shot 67 to qualify for the sectional.
A five-man playoff was held between golfers who shot 68 began for the final qualifying spot.
Jay McLuen went birdie-par on two playoff holes to outlast Michael Hebert for the spot. Hebert was designated first alternate, while Woodstock’s Bill Murchison III, an assistant professional at Towne Lake Hills Golf Club, claimed the second alternate spot on his second playoff hole.
Albertson may have shot well, but he started poorly with a bogey on No. 2. He bounced back, however, with a birdie on 3 after his lob wedge from 100 yards out set up a successful 10-foot putt.
After parring No. 4, Albertson made five straight birdies to go into the turn at 5 under. He didn’t shoot as well on the back but still broke even.
Murchison got things started with three birdies on the back nine, including a birdie on 18 that he said was “miraculous.” After his drive sailed left on the par-4 hole, he chose to play it safe with a 9-iron, the ball made the green and stopped 3 feet from the pin.
After making the turn at 3 under, Murchison didn’t putt as he did on the first nine holes and was 1 over.
“I hit the ball well, but to do anything in golf, you’ve got to make the putts,” Murchison said. “I gave myself a lot of birdie chances, and if I had putted as well on the nine, I would have had a really good round.”
Murchison returned to the 18th for the second playoff hole, and a par putt was good enough to earn his spot as the second alternate.
Will Brackett, a former Woodstock High School golfer now at North Georgia, shot 72, as did Sequoyah senior Riley Davenport.
Michael Parrott, a Woodstock resident who works at Brookstone Country Club in Roswell, shot 74. Mark Strickland, another Woodstock resident, shot 78.
Woodstock’s Jeff Lear, a former club pro at Towne Lake and Ansley Golf Club-Settindown Creek, shot 80. Ball Ground’s Anthony Bordwell and Woodstock’s Patrick Higgins shot 81.