U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying Preview
by Spencer Sorensen
June 1, 2012
PEBBLE BEACH – In less than two weeks the golf world will turn its attention to San Francisco, but there’s reason why it should turn its attention there a lot sooner. That’s because this Monday, June 4, neighboring courses Lake Merced GC and TPC Harding Park, both less than four miles from the Olympic Club, will be hosting one of 11 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifiers across the country. A unique situation presented itself to this year’s California sectional qualifying locale as a high demand of those who qualified through U.S. Open Local Qualifying selected Lake Merced GC as their desired qualifying site. Because of this Lake Merced GC, which has hosted sectional qualifying every even-numbered year since 1984,—with the exception of 2010 when the greens were being renovated—teamed up with TPC Harding Park to accommodate 130 participating players. All players will play each course, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon with action beginning at 7:00 a.m. Tee times.
The tournament brings golfers from near and far as three players in the field have San Francisco addresses, while six are from foreign countries: Canada (3) Australia (2) and England. Several local golfers who are current NCGA members are in the field and will compete for one of the six coveted spots. Here is a quick look at the 17 different players and some of their notable playing credentials:
Andrew Buchanan, 17, Los Altos Hills, Calif. – Buchanan is fresh off finishing his junior year at Menlo School where he won the Central Coast Section individual title with a 7-under 64 at Rancho Canada GC. He shot the low amateur score at the Pasatiempo U.S. Open Local Qualifier with an even-par 70. Tee Times: TPC Harding Park No. 1 7:09, Lake Merced No. 10, 12:39 p.m.
Matt Cohn, 31, San Francisco, Calif. – Cohn currently resides in fifth place on the NCGA Player of the Year points list with a win at amateurgolf.com’s Mid-Am & Master event. In 2011, he made it to the quarterfinals of the NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship, earned runner-up honors at the NCGA Public Links Championship and shared third place at the NCGA Valley Amateur. Cohn played men’s collegiate golf at the University of Oklahoma from 1999-2003. Tee Times: TPC Harding Park No. 10, 8:12 a.m., Lake Merced GC No. 1, 1:42 p.m.
Earl Cross, 41, Grass Valley, Calif. – He shot a 3-under par 69 in the Serrano CC U.S. Open Local Qualifier to finish alone in third place. Cross is a member of Alta Sierra CC. Tee Times: Lake Merced No. 1 7:27 a.m., TPC Harding Park No. 10, 12:57 p.m.
Derek Ernst, 22, Clovis, Calif. – He just finished his collegiate career at UNLV where he was the 2010-11 MWC Player of the Year as a junior. Currently, he is the highest ranked NCGA member in the R&A’s World Golf Amateur Rankings* at No. 22. Ernst was also a member of the NCGA team that won the Morse Cup at the 2011 Pacific Coast Amateur. Additionally he was the 2011 U.S. Public Links Amateur runner-up where he lost to Corbin Mills in 37 holes. Tee Times: Lake Merced No. 10, 8:12 a.m., TPC Harding Park No. 1, 1:42 p.m.
Bryson DeChambeau, 18, Clovis, Calif. – In 2011 he was named the Junior Tour of Northern California Boys Player of the Year winning one junior tour event and finishing with top five finishes in three other junior tour events. DeChambeau also made it to the round of 32 at the 2011 U.S. Amateur and the 2011 NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship. This fall he will enroll at SMU to play for its men’s golf team. Tee Times: Lake Merced No. 1 7:54 a.m., TPC Harding Park No. 10, 1:24 p.m.
Ben Geyer, 20, Arbuckle, Calif. – He just finished his junior season at St. Mary’s College where he was a first-team all-WCC selection. Geyer qualified for U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying in 2011 and additionally performed well at the 2011 U.S. Amateur. There he tied a competitive course record at Erin Hills, 66, to qualify for match play before losing in the round of 16. Geyer also made it to the round of 16 in 2011 California State Amateur. Tee Times: TPC Harding Park No. 1, 8:12 a.m., Lake Merced No. 10, 1:42 p.m.
Hank McCusker, 47, Mendocino, Calif. – He played six events on the Golf Channel’s Am Tour in 2011 finishing first in the championship flight twice. McCusker currently is 29th on the NCGA Player of the Year points list with 190 points. He finished tied for third at the 2012 Scratch Players Mid-Amateur at Mayacama GC. Tee Times: TPC Harding Park No. 10, 7:09 a.m., Lake Merced No. 1, 12:39 p.m.
Jay Myers, 21, San Jose, Calif. – A San Jose native, Myers just finished his collegiate career at San Jose State University where he was named first-team All-WAC for the 2011-2012 season. In 2008 during his senior year in high school Myers finished runner-up in the NCGA/CIF High School Boys Championship. Tee Times: TPC Harding Park No. 10, 8:21 a.m., Lake Merced No. 1, 1:51 p.m.
Ryan Nelson, 25, Fresno, Calif. – He played collegiate men’s golf at Fresno City College 2007-2008. Nelson tied for the low score at the Fort Washington GCC U.S. Open Local Qualifier with a score of 4-under par 67. Tee Times: TPC Harding Park No. 10, 8:30 a.m., Lake Merced No. 1, 2:00 p.m.
Cameron Rappleye, 22, Elk Grove, Calif. – He just finished his senior year at Sacramento State University where he was a four-year member of its golf team. Rappleye made it to the round of 16 in the 2011 California State Amateur and the quarterfinals of the 2011 NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship. Tee Times: Lake Merced No. 1, 7:18 a.m., TPC Harding Park No. 10, 12:48 p.m.
Rick Reinsberg, 40, Lafayette, Calif. – He competed in the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields, where he missed the cut after shooting back-to-back 76s. He has won the NCGA Stroke Play Championship (2009), an NCGA Four-Ball title with playing partner Scott Hardy (2005) and the final Sacramento Valley Championship in 2003 before it merged with the San Joaquin Valley Championship to become the Valley Amateur Championship in 2004. He is currently in 13th place on the NCGA Player of the Year points list. Tee Times: Lake Merced No. 1, 7:45 a.m., TPC Harding Park No. 10, 1:15 p.m.
Ryan Sloane, 33, Campbell, Calif. – The only player along with playing partner Taylor Travis to win back-to-back NCGA Four-Ball Championships in 2008 and 2009. Sloane played collegiate golf at Santa Clara University where he was first-team all-WCC selection in 1998. Tee Times: Lake Merced No. 1, 7:54 a.m., TPC Harding Park No. 10, 1:24 p.m.
Josh Stone, 22, Stockton, Calif. – He has won two tournaments in the past two months, the Davis City Championship and the Manteca City Stroke Play Championship. With the wins Stone currently resides in 10th place on NCGA Player of the Year points list with 336 points. He played men’s collegiate golf at San Joaquin Delta College. Tee Times: TPC Harding Park No. 10, 7:45 a.m., Lake Merced No. 1, 1:15 p.m.
Martin Trainer, 21, Palo Alto, Calif. – Trainer, who just finished his junior year at USC, won the 2011 PAC-12 title as a sophomore. He was a member of the NCGA team that won the Morse Cup at the 2011 Pacific Coast Amateur and a member of the winning NCGA team for the North/South Challenge during the 2011 California State Amateur. Tee Times: Lake Merced No. 10, 8:30 a.m., TPC Harding Park No. 1, 2:00 p.m.
Vincent Venard, 30, Sacramento, Calif. – Battled for five playoff holes, four one-on-one against Donnie Baucom, to make U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying. Venard was runner-up at the 2012 Plumas Lake Amateur and currently is tied for 33rd on the NCGA Player of the Year points list. Tee Times: Lake Merced No. 10, 8:30 a.m., TPC Harding Park No. 1, 2:00 p.m.
Kevin Wentworth, 28, Arnold, Calif. – For the third straight year Wentworth qualified for U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying via local qualifying at Ruby Hill GC. He was the 2011 California State Amateur runner-up (held at the Olympic Club) losing the championship match to Bakersfield’s Bhavik Patel. Wentworth was a member of the NCGA team that won the Morse Cup at the 2011 Pacific Coast Amateur and a member of the winning 2011 NCGA Hanna-Wehrman Cup team. He was also the medalist for the 2011 NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship. Tee Times: TPC Harding Park No. 1, 8:21 a.m., Lake Merced No. 10, 1:51 p.m.
Jeff Wilson, 48, Fairfield, Calif. – He has qualified for the U.S. Open Championship four times in his career spanned over three decades (’82, ’90, ’00 and ’08). In the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach GL he was the only amateur to make the cut finishing in 59th place. Wilson has also earned more medalist honors at USGA events than any other NCGA player in history, with a record five. His most recent medalist honor was at the 2010 U.S. Amateur. Wilson finished as runner-up in the 2009 California State Amateur where he lost to Geoff Gonzalez in the final. He also has an NCGA major to his credit, the 2003 NCGA Four-Ball, which he won with partner Todd Barsotti. Tee Times: Lake Merced No. 1, 7:00 a.m., TPC Harding Park No. 10, 12:30 p.m.
*Through May 27, 2012