Sectional "Storylines"

2006usopenlogo.jpegHighlights from the USGA media department release on U.S. Open qualifying "storylines":

June 5
Littleton, Colo. (Columbine C.C.): 25 golfers for 1 spots

Steve Irwin of Golden, Colo., the son of three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin, is in the field. The younger Irwin has never competed in an Open, while his father has 34 appearances, the second-most in history. 

Tyler Parsloe, 16, of Littleton, Colo., is hoping to follow in the footsteps of two other Colorado teens who recently qualified for the Open as 16-year-olds: Derek Tolan (2002) and Tom Glissmeyer (2003). Parsloe is one of four 16-year-olds to advance to sectional qualifying. 

Surrey, England (Walton Heath Golf Club): 71 golfers for 8 spots

Graeme McDowell of Ireland is a former Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cupper. 

Francesco Molinari of Italy is the older brother of 2006 U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari. Francesco captured the 2006 Italian Open. 

Gary Wolstenholme of England is a career amateur and is the all-time points leader for the Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup squad. He also is a two-time British Amateur champion. 

Rockville, Md. (Woodmont Country Club): 51 golfers for 4 spots

Tommy Armour III of Las Colinas, Texas, is the grandson of 1927 U.S. Open champion Tommy Armour. He will be looking to play in his seventh Open. His grandfather competed in 27.

David Berganio Jr. of Sylmar, Calif., is a two-time winner of the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship (1991 and ’93).

Wayne Defrancesco of Rockville, Md., will proceed to sectional qualifying at Woodmont C.C. where he is a teaching professional.  He finished with the low score of his qualifying field in Baltimore, Md. 

Gordon Vietmeier, 39, a teaching professional and a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., moved ahead to sectional rounds after qualifying at Quicksilver Golf Club.

Summit, N.J. (Canoe Brook C.C.): 153 golfers for 18 spots

Several New York-area residents will be trying to make it a special week at Winged Foot. 

* Charlie Meola grew up on the public courses near his house in Mamaroneck. But every once in a while he'd work up the nerve to take a few clubs and a handful of balls, cut through a couple of yards and sneak into Winged Foot Golf Club. Meola, now 31, has since returned to play the famed courses by entering through the front gates. The Mahopac Golf Club pro moved a step closer to playing Winged Foot in one of golf's majors. He fired an even-par 71 in his U.S. Open local qualifier at Siwanoy Country Club. 

* Ben Hoffhine’s apartment on Fenimore Road in Mamaroneck is as a little more than a mile down the street from Winged Foot Golf Club, and it’s likely there isn't a golf pro in the world who lives closer to this year's championship site. Hoffhine, the head pro at Wykagyl C.C. in New Rochelle, shot a 70 to earn medalist honors at his local qualifier at Atlantic Golf Club. 

* Another qualifier from the Atlantic G.C. site was Andrew Svoboda, a Winged Foot member (4-time Club champ) and former Met Open champion who advanced to the quarterfinals of the ’04 U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot. Svoboda has since turned pro. 

* Heath Wassem, the head pro at Fenway Golf Club in Scarsdale, also advanced at his local qualifier at Cherry Valley Club in Garden City. Fenway is located not far from Winged Foot. 

* Rick Hartmann of Sag Harbor, N.Y., is the pro at Atlantic Golf Club in Southampton. He played in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and finished tied for 46th. He is paired with Michelle Wie on Monday. 

* George Zahringer of New York is the oldest winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur. He was 48 when he won in 2002 at his home course, The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conn. 

USA Walker Cupper Nicholas Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., will be trying to advance to his first U.S. Open. He advanced from a Weston, Fla., qualifier. Thompson now plays on the PGA Tour. 

Brock Mackenzie of Yakima, Wash., was a member of the 2003 USA Walker Cup team. Mackenzie qualified for the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills as an amateur. 

Geoffrey Sisk, 41, of Marshfield, Mass., will be attempting to qualify for his fifth U.S. Open. Sisk made the cut at Shinnecock Hills (T40) in 2004. He also made the cut at Pinehurst in 1999, finishing tied for 30th. 

Michelle Wie, 16, of Honolulu, Hawaii is attempting to become the first female to ever play in a U.S. Open. Wie was medalist (shot even par 72) at her qualifier at Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii. Wie won the 2003 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship as a 13-year-old, becoming the youngest winner of an “adult” USGA championship.

Former major winners Mark O’Meara (1998 Masters and British Open) and Mark Brooks (1996 PGA) are in the field. 

Hunter Mahan of Plano, Texas, won the 1999 U.S. Junior title and was the runner-up at the 2002 U.S. Amateur. He has competed in one U.S. Open (2003). 

Ricky Barnes of Stockton, Calif., was the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion. He competed in three U.S. Opens as an amateur, but has yet to qualify since turning pro in 2003.

Former Walker Cupper (1995) Kris Cox of Dallas, Texas, will look to draw on his good memories of Canoe Brook, where he shot a course-record 64 on the South Course to help him qualify for the Open in 2004.

Ben “Bubba” Dickerson of Plano, Texas, won the 2001 U.S. Amateur, but turned pro after the Masters and thus forfeited his exemption into the ’02 Open. He is hoping to qualify for his first Open. 

Austin Eaton III of North Sutton, N.H., won the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur and was a semifinalist last summer at the U.S. Amateur. 

David Gossett of Germantown, Tenn., won the 1999 U.S. Amateur and made the cut at the 2000 Masters. He is paired with Michelle Wie in this qualifier. 

John Nieporte of Boca Raton, Fla., would like to have a special Father’s Day at Winged Foot. His father, Tom, is Winged Foot’s longtime head professional.

Columbus, Ohio (Brookside Golf & C.C./Lakes Golf & C.C.): 144 golfers for 21 spots
Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson, survived a six-man playoff to grab one of the final three berths available from his qualifier at Orlando’s MetroWest Golf Club. An 18-year-old amateur, he was the stroke-play medalist at the 2005 U.S. Junior, where he recorded a hole-in-one. Palmer has played in 32 U.S. Opens, while Saunders will look to play in his first. 

Jason Gore of Valencia, Calif., who was the ‘Prince of Pinehurst’ in 2005, went on to win three Nationwide Tour events and the PGA Tour’s 84 Lumber Classic. Gore played in the final pairing last June, only to shoot an 84 on Sunday.

Cincinnati native Brett Wetterich, who earned his first PGA Tour win in May at the EDS Byron Nelson Classic, needed a playoff to advance from his local qualifying site in Cincinnati.

Pinehurst, N.C., native Drew Scott, who is the golf coach at Rice University in Houston, survived a playoff to get one of the last two remaining spots at his qualifier in Daniels, W.Va.

Two-time major winner John Daly (1991 PGA and ’95 British Open) hopes to make it to his 14th U.S. Open, where his best finish is a T-27 in 1996. 

J.B. Holmes of Campbellsville, Ky., competed on the 2005 USA Walker Cup squad and then captured his first PGA Tour event as a rookie this past January at the FBR Open in Phoenix 

Trip Kuehne of Dallas, Texas, is a two-time USA Walker Cupper and the runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 1994 U.S. Amateur. He also was low amateur at the 2003 U.S. Open.

Kevin Marsh of Las Vegas won the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur. 

Ryan Moore of Puyallup, Wash., would like to get back to the venue where he won the 2004 U.S. Amateur. Moore also won the 2002 and ’04 APL titles and competed on the 2003 USA Walker Cup team. 

Kyle Reifers of Columbus, Ohio, competed on the 2005 USA Walker Cup team and is one of three players not to turn professional. 

Jeff Sluman of Hinsdale, Ill., captured the 1988 PGA Championship and competed in 17 U.S. Opens. 

D.J. Trahan of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., won the 2000 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and was on the 2001 USA Walker Cup team.

Camilo Villegas of Colombia was the 1999 U.S. Junior runner-up and one of the top rookies on the PGA Tour. The 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills was his professional debut.

Chris Devlin, a native of Northern Ireland, advanced to sectional qualifying rounds.  He is currently a member of the golf team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

Brad Hardin of Nashville, Tenn., moved ahead to sectional qualifying.  He is the brother of Leigh Anne Hardin, who was the 1998 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion. 

Columbus, Ohio #2 (Double Eagle Golf Club): 37 golfers for 2 spot

Michael Putnam of Tacoma, Wash., was a member of the 2005 USA Walker Cup team. He qualified for the 2005 U.S. Open as an amateur. Putnam, a member of the Nationwide Tour, was the medalist at the Somis, Calif., local qualifier.

Chez Reavie of Scottsdale, Ariz., won the 2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and qualified for the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. 

Creswell, Ore. (Emerald Valley G.C.): 25 golfers for 1 spots
Clay Ogden of West Point, Utah, won the 2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, including a quarterfinal victory over Michelle Wie.

Alejandro Canizares, 23, a native of Spain, finished first in local qualifying in Phoenix, Ariz.  The former ASU Sun Devil was the 2003 NCAA national champion and was also named Freshman of the Year. 

Houston, Texas (Lakeside Country Club): 32 golfers for 2 spots
Tom Kite of Austin, Texas, the 1992 U.S. Open champion, will be looking to compete in his 34th Open. Only Hale Irwin (34) and Jack Nicklaus (44) have competed in more U.S. Opens.

Anthony Kim of La Quinta, Calif., competed on the 2005 USA Walker Cup team and advanced to the semifinals of the 2005 APL. 

Kevin Tway of Edmond, Okla., won the 2005 U.S. Junior title on his 17th birthday. He is the son of 1986 PGA Championship winner Bob Tway, who will try to qualify in Columbus, Ohio. 

June 6

Tampa, Fla. (Old Memorial Golf Club): 59 golfers for 3 spots
Fred Ridley of Tampa, Fla., won the 1974 U.S. Amateur and just completed his two-year term as USGA President. The 53-year-old will try to qualify at his home club. 

John Calabria, 58, of Naples, Fla., is the oldest player to come out of local qualifying. 

Eric Cole, 17, of Orlando, can look to his mother for inspiration on the course. Laura Baugh captured the 1971 U.S. Women’s Amateur as a 16-year-old and competed in 14 Women’s Opens, including a tie for eighth in 1979. 

Matt Every, 22, of Daytona Beach, Fla., was low amateur at the 2005 U.S. Open and a member of the ’05 USA Walker Cup team. He recently was named the Ben Hogan Award winner. 

Atlanta, Ga. (Ansley Golf Club Settindown Creek Course): 65 golfers for 4 spot
Matt Kuchar, the 1997 U.S. Amateur champion who made the cut at both the 1998 Masters and U.S. Open, will look to play in his fifth U.S. Open. 

Brian Harman of Savannah, Ga., won the 2003 U.S. Junior and was a key member of the victorious 2005 USA Walker Cup team. Harman just completed his freshman season at the University of Georgia. 

Nick Flanagan of Australia won the 2003 U.S. Amateur and competed at the ’04 Open, but missed the cut.

St. Louis, Mo. (Fox Run Golf Club): 27 golfers for 2 sports
Jay Delsing of St. Louis, who owns a pair of runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour, will be vying to play in his third U.S. Open, but first since 1992 at Pebble Beach, where he tied for 33rd.