Two days against some of the top amateurs in the southeast ended well for a Berry College golfer on Tuesday as he locked up a spot in the upcoming U.S. Amatuer Championship.
Preston Desantis, a rising sophomore on the Vikings’ men’s team, tied for first with high schooler Jansen Preston of Lexington, Kentucky, in a qualifying tournament at Jennings Mill Country Club in Watkinsville.
The two shot 9-under for the tournament, three strokes ahead of Mercer’s Spencer Ball.
DeSantis, who played his prep golf at Marist, finished Monday with a 6-under for the outright lead after five birdies on the front nine and an eagle on No. 10.
Cobb County natives Jonathan Keppler and Conner Rostowsky were in striking distance to qualify for the U.S. Amateur, but they could not close it out in the second round.
Keppler finished at 3-under par 141 and tied for 10th, while Rostowsky finished tied for 26th at 1-over 145.
Keppler, who won the Georgia Amateur earlier this month, entered Tuesday’s round at 1-under and moved into contention at 4-under with a hole-in-one at the 171-yard, par-3 17th hole. However, a bogey on No. 18 left the Florida State golfer and former Kennesaw Mountain High School standout two shots out of a playoff for the final two qualifying positions and two alternate positions.
Rostowsky, a former Mount Paran Christian School standout entering his freshman season at Kennesaw State, started the day tied for second after an opening round 5-under 67 and had moved to 6-under for the tournament through 12 holes before disaster struck.
Bogeys at Nos. 13 and 15 dropped Rostowsky to 4-under, and a 10 on the 539-yard, par-5 16th ended his chances.
Five players — Colin Bowles, Maxwell Ford, Spencer Ralston, Jacob Solomon and Seth Brandon — tied at 5-under and went to a playoff.
Georgia Southern’s Bowles birdied the first playoff hole to secure the fourth qualifying spot, while Ford, a high school junior from Peachtree Corners, earned the final one with a birdie on the third playoff hole. Ralston and Solomon -- Georgia and Auburn golfers, respectively -- claimed the first and second alternate positions.
Marietta’s Matthew Hayes, who was 1-under after the first round, shot 75 on Tuesday to finish tied for 28th. Kennesaw State's Brady Keran and Connor Coffee made the cut for the final round before withdrawing.
The U.S. Amateur will take place Aug. 12-18 at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.
The Jennings Mill qualifier was the second of two in Georgia. Former Harrison High School and current Georgia Tech standout Luke Schniederjans qualified last week from the first qualifier at Capital City Club-Crabapple in Woodstock.