U.S. Open Sectional Qualfiying: Eleven locals attempt to qualify on Monday
Photo: Pebble Beach Golf Links (courtesy USGA)
Eleven players with ties to the Garden State – including six past NJSGA Champions – will attempt to qualify for the 119th U.S. Open this upcoming Monday, June 3 at sites around the country. The U.S. Open will be held June 13-16 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.
Century Country Club and Old Oaks Country Club in Purchase, N.Y. will host eight of these locals; 2009 NJSGA Open Champion Brett Jones of Basking Ridge, 2012 NJSGA Amateur Champion Ryan McCormick, 2011 Open Champion Kevin Foley, Ryan Davis of Berkeley Heights, John Pak of Scotch Plains, Stephen Shellock of Atlantic Highlands, and the Wall brothers of Brielle – Jeremy and Jack (who won the '17 Junior Championship) - as each looks to stamp a ticket to Pebble Beach.
Elsewhere, two other past NJSGA champions, David Sanders (2011 Amateur) and Morgan Hoffmann (2005 Junior) will play at the Woodmont CC (Md.) and Columbus (Ohio) sectionals, respectively. In addition, Monmouth University junior Ron Robertson (of Hatfield, Pa.) will also compete at Woodmont.
When Ryan McCormick won both the NJSGA and MGA Amateur Championship in the summer of 2012, he became the first player in 63 years to claim both titles in the same year. The feat set the stage for McCormick to turn professional in 2014 (after graduating from St. John’s University) when he joined Canada’s Mackenzie Tour. He most recently has competed on the Asian Tour and Web.com Tour as a partial qualifier.
After logging tens of thousands of miles traveling the world, McCormick was back home on May 6 when he successfully advanced through local qualifying at Alpine Country Club. It was the fifth time he advanced through the local stage, but has yet to reach the Holy Grail of playing in a U.S. Open – an event in which his father, Mark, competed in 2012 at the Olympic Club.
“I’ve never played Century and Old Oaks, but maybe that will work in my favor,” said McCormick, a native of Middletown, N.J. “But, I feel my game is the best it’s ever been. I’m bigger and stronger – and am hitting it farther than I ever have. I feel I’ve improved in all aspects of my game, but I just haven’t seen the results yet. “
Two other locals qualified on May 6 at Alpine, including Steve Shellock, the head professional at Suneagles Golf Course in Tinton Falls with a 68, amateur Ryan Davis (a member of the Penn State golf team) with a 69 – in addition to McCormick.
Brothers Jack and Jeremy Wall of Manasquan River Country Club both advanced through U.S. Open Local Qualifying at different sites in dramatic fashion, both advancing to the sectional stage through a playoff.
The fifth time was the charm for Jeremy Wall, 23, who had never advanced past local qualifying in four previous attempts. His 60-foot birdie putt over a ridge on the first playoff hole at Makefield Highlands Golf Club in Yardley, Pa., enabled him to move on.
“I’ve really only played about a dozen times this spring. I’m working full-time, and I’ve never played Makefield Highlands before. I was a little rusty and needed 33 putts, but I hit about 70 percent of the fairways,” said Wall, a sales consultant at the family auto dealership in Shrewsbury, N.J.
“It was my first competitive round since last August. I kept it in play and my chipping and scrambling were really good. I’m excited about going to the Sectionals.”
Jack Wall, 18, has already won the NJSIAA Boys High School Championship and the Monmouth County Tournament this spring. He is another past NJSGA champion looking to advance, having won the NJSGA Junior Championship in 2017. His par in a three-for-two playoff at Hollow Brook Golf Club on May 9 in Cortland Manor, N.Y., allowed him to advance after the first extra hole.
In what has been a busy Spring for the Wall family, the three brothers played in the U.S. Four-Ball Championship in late May at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon. Jeremy played with brother, Ethan, while Jack Wall teamed with high school teammate Brendan Hansen of Spring Lake Golf Club. The latter squad qualified for match play, before losing in the round of 32 in a grueling 21-hole affair.
At Medford Village on May 9, three professionals and one amateur with local ties advanced to the sectional stage. Professionals Foley and Jones shared medalist honors at 69, while Sanders (now of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) was third with 70. Monmouth University junior Ron Robertson of Hatfield, Pa., was the lone amateur who qualified at Medford Village, carding a 71.
Jones, 43, made three birdies against no bogeys for his 69 at Medford Village, a course he had never seen. Jones, whose brother Matt is a regular on the PGA Tour, played in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. The Due Process head professional is looking to compete in his first U.S. Open.
Follow U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying across the country by visiting the USGA website, or by clicking here.