Pebble Beach, CA –Former UVA men’s golfer Brad Tilley advanced to the round of 32 at the 2018 U.S. Amateur Championship with a 19-hole victory in his opening round of match play. Tilley defeated Akshay Bhatia of Wake Forest, N.C. on Wednesday in a bizarre finish that included a penalty being assed against Bhatia.
After winning the first two holes of the match, Tilley went 3 up after the seventh hole. Bhatia fought back with consecutive wins on holes nine through 11 to square the match.
After hitting his second shot onto the green on Pebble Beach’s par-5 14th hole, Bhatia and his caddie, Chris Darnell, stopped to use the restroom. Bhatia walked up to the green afterward, but Darnell asked what he thought was a USGA official for a ride up to the green.
It turned out that the cart that Darnell rode on was not driven by a USGA official. Rather, it was a volunteer wearing USGA apparel. A rules official who was in the area spotted the infraction and assessed Bhatia an adjustment penalty, so instead of winning the hole with a birdie-4 to move 1 up, the match remained all square.
Conditions of the competition prohibit players and caddies from riding on any form of transportation during a stipulated round unless authorized.
Bhatia went on to win the next hole to grab a 1 up lead, but Tilley squared the match on the 17th hole and won out on the 19th.
Tilley faces Krisoffer Reitan at 10:30 a.m. PT Thursday during the second day of match play competition.
Tilley graduated from UVA in 2006. He earned All-ACC honors as a junior in 2005.
Live results from the U.S. Amateur Championships are online at USGA.org.