Jack Wall, a 17-year-old high school junior from Manasquan River Golf Club and the defending NJSGA Junior champion, birdied four of his first nine holes and came through with a 3-under-par 68 to earn medalist honors at the U.S. Open Local Qualifying Round on Monday, May 7, at Spring Lake Golf Club in Spring Lake.

Wall was one of four to advance to U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying Round on June 4, most likely for these golfers at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit. All of them asked that Canoe Brook be their first preference for the SQR. Success there will lead to the 118th U.S. Open Championship, which is set for June 11-17 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.

LEADERBOARD

Wall (32-36-68) was one of four to advance to the SQR. Others were PGA Tour professional Roberto Diaz of Jacksonville, Fla. (36-33-69), Rutgers University freshman Chris Gotterup of Rumson C.C. (32-38-70) and 46-year-old amateur Mike Stamberger of Spring Lake (34-37-71), who earned the spot in a three-way playoff. Stamberger has won two State Amateur Championships.

The two alternates are 21-year-old pro Dan O’Rourke of Oak Hill (35-36-71), the first alternate who was runner-up at the State Amateur in 2017, and Brian Whitman of Metedeconk National (37-34-71). O’Rourke needed three extra holes to secure the spot after a bogey on his 18th hole.

Wall got to five-under-par with a birdie on the par-4 11th hole, but came in with two bogeys.

“I’m absolutely excited about the 68. I told myself to come out here and make a lot of birdies and just play like I had nothing to lose,” said Wall, who attends Christian Brothers Academy. “I did that on the front, and on the back, I played more defensive and tried not to make any mistakes.

“The greens are always fast here and they break a lot. I hit some big drives when I was downwind. Now I’m one step closer to the U.S. Open . It’s the ultimate goal. It’s everybody’s goal. But realistically, you have a very slim chance.”

Next up for Wall are high school sectionals and group championships, as well as the Tournament of Champions. After that, Wall will play in the U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier on June 13 at Lake Chesdin Parkway in Chesterfield, Va. If he qualifies for the event for the second time in his short career, he will play in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Baltusrol , June 23-29.

Diaz, 31, is the highest ranking Mexican player in the world. He is full-time on the PGA Tour after a top 25 finish in the Web.Com Tour a year ago. He played in the U.S. Open last year at Erin Hills in Wisconsin as the replacement for Phil Mickelson, who had stayed in California to attend his daughter’s high school graduation. Diaz did not make the cut.

Gotterup was a teammate with Wall a year ago on CBA’s state championship team. He won both the Monmouth County Tournament and Shore Conference Tournament championships last year. He has enjoyed a successful freshman year at Rutgers and played in every tournament.

“I was tied for third in the Big Ten Championship after three rounds last week, but shot a 78 the final day,” he said of the event which was played at Baltimore Country Club.

“I’m driving it well and have been putting well, but I was a little off today,” said Gotterup, who was five under through 10 holes, but recorded four bogeys on the back nine.

Besides winning two NJSGA Amateurs, Stamberger also won the 2008 NJSGA Mid-Amateur.

“I switched back to a long putter this spring and I’m doing very well with it,” he said.

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