Albertson got his wish Thursday, starting the day with two birdies over his first six holes before finishing with a 4-under 68 over the 6,860-yard course at Druid Hills Golf Club.
After opening with a first-round 76 Wednesday, the rising Georgia Tech sophomore and former Etowah star rose 35 spots on the leaderboard, to even-par 144 and a tie for 23rd among the 87 golfers.
Albertson, however, still sits 11 shots off the pace set by recent Virginia graduate Bruce Woodall, who grabbed the lead with a two-day score of 133 after his 64 on Thursday.
Twenty-two others were under par, including Albertson’s Georgia Tech teammate, Ollie Schniederjans, who is third at 7-under 137. First-round leader MJ Maguire, a North Florida player, is one stroke behind Woodall at 10-under 134.
Albertson is one of seven golfers tied for 23rd, along with Georgia Tech teammates Richy Werenski and Seth Reeves.
“(On Thursday), I had to make up ground from (Wednesday) and kind of get me back to where I’m in a spot to hopefully shoot some low numbers over the last two days and kind of get back in it,” Albertson said. “I was trying to get back to under par (Thursday) for the tournament.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that, but I got real close, so I think I have good momentum going into the next two days. I’m excited for the opportunity to play out here. It’s a lot of fun.”
Challenging pin placements, and two bad shots, played a part in Albertson’s high first-round score. Despite those few mishaps, knowing he played well allowed him to craft a similar style for Thursday that paid off.
After making the turn in 35, Albertson birdied Nos. 3 and 4 and collected an eagle on the par-5 seventh, but he bogeyed the eighth and missed a 6-foot birdie try on the ninth hole.
“I really didn’t play that bad (Wednesday),” Albertson said of his first round. “The score really wasn’t indicative of how my game was. I just flew it a yard off (in a triple bogey at No. 16) and made a big number. I played pretty similarly (Thursday) but did better on the par-5s. I made two putts of length for birdie, and that kind of saved some strokes there.
“The hole placements were a little bit easier (Thursday), but they’re not easy overall by any means. There were a couple more that were a little more accessible. There were more in the middle of the green and not on the false fronts, or two paces from the edge like (Wednesday).”
William Mitchell, a member of Canton’s BridgeMill Athletic Club remained near the bottom of the leaderboard despite a 1-under 71 Thursday. He’s one of six golfers tied for 69th with a score of 9-over 153.
Mitchell, who teed off from No. 10, birdied three of his first nine holes, but he finished out with two bogeys on the front nine.
Albertson will tees off today at 8:54 a.m. from No. 1 with two golfers from the Southeastern Conference — LSU’s Smylie Kaufman and Auburn’s Will McCurdy. Mitchell will start at 9:26 a.m. from No. 10 with former Georgia State golfer Will Fowler and Druid Hills member John Davis.