Richardson Fires at Players Am

Kalem Richardson is one of the hardest workers of the game and the effort appears to be paying dividends after he opened with an impressive 4-under-par 68 to be in a tie for second position at The Players Amateur in Bluffton South Carolina.

Richardson is a stroke behind first round leader, Corbin Mills, in a field that's littered with international talent.

The Tasmanian finds himself in a similar position to last year at this tournament where he also opened with a 68 in a case that history does repeat itself, however, this occasion he plans to go better than his tied 42nd finish last year after closing rounds damaged his chances.

"I laid solid out there today and look forward to keeping the score going," said Richardson.

"I was lucky enough to play in the pre-rounds with Todd Barranger, a former US tour player and he gave me a few pointers to help me out with the greens and that went along way today. I started well last year and have learnt a bit since what to do out there."

Richardson's opening round was split with a front nine of 31, the day's lowest low nine round, to close with back nine of 37.

"I could have finished a little better," said Richardson.

"All in all I played well today and are looking forward to working away at it over the next three days. Last week was a good warm up for me and I feel I have found my swing over the last couple of weeks, so the confidence is there."

2011 Australian Amateur Stroke champion, Cameron Smith, also opened well with a 69 to be in a tie for 4th, along with fellow Aussie, Todd Sinnott, who exhibited stellar form last week at the Rice Planters championship securing a top-20 finish in his maiden US amateur tour event.

Matt Stieger is one behind Smith and Sinnott with an opening round of 70 to be in a tie for 10th position, with 2011 Riversdale Cup champion, Nathan Holman, a stroke behind Stieger in tie for 16th after an opening 71 along with Ryan McCarthy.

Despite the tournament's short life of 11 years, the Players Amateur enjoys a world tournament ranking of 13 with the tournament moving up the ranking board in recent years and is considered by many players as a main US amateur event to secure.

Aron Price won the event in 2004 and is the only Australian to claim the title to date. Previous winners include British Open Champion, Ben Curtis, Bill Haas, Rickie Fowler and Camilo Villegas, all current PGA Tour players.

The cut will come in at the top 48 plus ties following Saturday's 3rd round with the winner of the 54-hole tournament earning an exemption into the 2012 RBC Heritage.

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