South Carolina senior Matt NeSmith shot a 5-under 65 on Monday on Olmypia Fields' North Course to take the first-round lead in U.S. Amateur stroke-play qualifying.
NeSmith, from North Augusta, South Carolina, had six birdies and a bogey.
The top 64 after the second round Tuesday will advance to match play on the North Course.
Georgia senior Lee McCoy of Clarkesville, Georgia; former Iowa player Nathan Yankovich of Blacklick, Ohio; Australia's Ryan Ruffels; and Japan's Kenta Konishi were a stroke back. Ruffels and Konishi opened on the North Course, and McCoy and Yankovich played the South Course.
Defending champion Gunn Yang of South Korea was tied for 116th after a 73 on the North Course. Yang is a sophomore at San Diego State.