The road to the 114th U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst No. 2 — arguably the toughest test in all of golf — begins Wednesday with the local qualifier at Schuyler Meadows.
The U.S. Open is set for June 12-15 in Pinehurst, N.C. Justin Rose is the defending champion.
Both professionals and elite amateurs are eligible for this extreme test, with either three or four players in the 65-man field advancing to sectional play in early June.
Among the top amateurs competing are defending Capital Region Amateur Golf Association Player of the Year Jim Welch of Olde Kinderhook, former Gazette N.I.E. junior champion Aaron Simone of Pinehaven Country Club, former Tri-County Match Play and Saratoga County Amateur titlist Jim Gifford of Mohawk Golf Club, Dave Hayes and former CRAGA Player of the Year Dan Russo of the host club, Steve Quilinan Jr. of Burden Lake Country Club, Justin Deitz of The Edison Club and Davis Jensen, son of the host pro, Steve Jensen.
Schalmont High School and Siena College graduate Bryan Bigley, a two-time Gazette County Amateur winner, returns from the Latin American PGA Tour to head a strong group of professionals in the field, along with Scotia native Ron Philo Jr., a former winner of the Professional Championship when it was held at Turning Stone Resort.
Three-time defending Northeastern New York PGA Player of the Year Scott Berliner of McGregor Links Country Club, former player of the year Frank Mellet of Colonie Golf & Country Club, former NENYPGA stroke play winner Anders Mattson of Saratoga National, Glenn Davis of Albany Country Club, Steve Vatter of Capital Hills at Albany and Tom Oppedisano of McGregor Links are among the top professionals in the field.
The USGA accepted a record number of entries into the U.S. Open (10,127), eclipsing the 9,860 for last year’s championship at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. Among that record total are 51 players, including 12 past champions, who are fully except.
8:00 — Matt Hills, Paolo Addona; 8:09 — Chris DeForest, Jim Welch, Bob Cain; 8:18 — Marc-Antoine Lamoureux, Ron Philo Jr., Jake Orr; 8:27 — Louis Walsh, Michael Shine, Aaron Simone; 8:36 — Luca Greco, Anders Mattson, Calvin Beckwith; 8:45 — Gajan Sivabslasingham, Chris Chiarappa, Joey Fitzsimmons; 8:54 — Scott Battiste, Jim Gifford, Steve Quillinan Jr.; 9:03 — Matt Leger, Mark Coldman, Matt Stefanki; 9:12 — Mark Benz, Josh Goheen, Max Christina; 9:21 — Mike Sporton, Brian Levi, Justin Hearly; 9:30 — Pierre Toulouse, David Hayes, Garen Poirier.
8:00 —Brendan Quintana, Glenn Davis, James Ciuffo; 8:09 — Edward Miller, John DeForest, Brennan McHugh; 8:18 — Scott Berliner, Bryan Bigley, Davis Jensen; 8:27 — Frank Manell, Adam Blackwell, Justin Deitz; 8:36 — Benoit Boudreau, Dan Russo, Josh Hillman; 8:45 — Jean-Hubert Trahan, Austin Nowak, Jesse Muller; 8:54 — D.J. Tozier, Greg Scott, Franie Sanborn; 9:03 — Robert Vanauken, Spencer Sautin, Joe Butler; 9:12 — Chris Ferraro, Zach Scala, Steve Vatter; 9:21 — Tom Oppedisano, Scott Kim, Johnathan Brisbane; 9:30 — Casey Komline, Nick Fairweather, Jona Scott.
u The first Capital Region 9-Hole Open Golf Championship will be held Saturday at Van Schaick Island Country Club, 201 Continental Ave. in Cohoes. The tournament is open to Capital Region players with an established USGA handicap index. Entry fee is $50, and includes golf, range balls, cart, prizes and beer/soda, hot dogs and hamburgers after the round. Call 237-6127 or 527-1340 for more information.
u Queensbury Country Club hosts the next Eastern New York Golf Association event Wednesday.
u The Tri-County Match Play Championship finishes up with finals in both the open and senior division today at Colonie Golf & Country Club.
u The Sagamore Resort will be the host for the New York State Golf Association’s State Day on Thursday.
u The New York State Junior PGA two-day tournament concludes today at Leatherstocking Golf Club.
u Lance Hope connected for seven birdies and shot a 30 in the CW Players league this week at Schenectady Municipal.
u Local club professionals will compete in the NENYPGA Pro Classic No. 3 at the Country Club of Pittsfield Monday.
u The New York State Golf Association’s Four-Ball Championship is set for May 18-19 at Leatherstocking Golf Club.
u The Friends of Union College Golf Classic will be played May 19 at The Edison Club. There will be a shotgun start at noon. Registration and driving range will open at 11 a.m. Cost is $550 per foursome or $150 per individual. Register online by Friday at www.unionathleticstickets.com. Sponsorship opportunities remain. For more information about sponsorships or the tournament, contact Beth Tiffany at 388-6286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trudy Murowski holed out with a 7-iron on the 80-yard 16th hole at Whispering Pines.
At Fairways of Halfmoon, Stephen Ryan recorded a hole-in-one on the 130-yard 17th hole with a pitching wedge. It was his second career ace.
Jack Davey scored his first career hole-in-one on the 175-yard 13th hole with a 4-hybrid at Amsterdam Municipal.
Doug Hopkins registered his first eagle on the par-5 21st hole at Van Patten Golf Club.
Brandon Alois of the Sandbaggers league at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course eagled the par-4 11th hole by driving the green and making the putt.