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Ben Reichert qualifies for U.S. Amateur golf, transfers to Ole Miss

It was a big day for East Amherst golfer Ben Reichert.

The 19-year-old former Williamsville North star qualified for the U.S. Amateur championship by shooting 68-73 over two rounds Tuesday at Blue Heron Hills Golf Course near Rochester. He was one of two golfers out of 78 to advance to the USGA championship at the famed Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles Aug. 14-20.

Reichert also announced he is transferring from East Tennessee State to the University of Mississippi, one of the better golf programs in the country.

"It's going to be pretty special," Richert said of his chance to play at Riviera. "It really hasn't sunk in yet."

Conditions were tough at Blue Heron Hills.

"It was raining pretty steady," he said. "It was either light or heavy all day until the last five holes. . . . I played well. I hung on at the end."

Reichert has had a good summer after finishing No. 2 on the ETSU team as a freshman. He tied for ninth with a 10-under score at the prestigious Eastern Amateur in Virginia earlier this month. He was low Buffalo-area finisher by placing 42nd at the Porter Cup.

The move to Ole Miss offers a step up in competition in the Southeastern Conference. Richert has three years of eligibility left.

Ole Miss was one of 30 teams that advanced to the NCAA Championships in May and placed 22nd. Rebel sophomore Braden Thornberry won the NCAA individual title. The Rebels lose three players from this year's team.

"Ole Miss has everything I was looking for," Reichert said. "It's a big-time SEC school. The coaches are both great. The schedule has top teams in the country. And I'm pretty good friends with Braden. I've played with him in tournaments before."

Reichert was two-time Section VI high school champion and won the 2015 New York Junior Amateur.

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