May 16, 2016

16-year-old Pulgini prevails in U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Silver Creek

 HELLERTOWN, Pa. — The #RoadToOakmont’s stop at Silver Creek Country Club (par 71, 6,928 yards) became a milestone moment for one 16-year-old U.S. Open hopeful on Monday.| Scorecards |

  Matt Pulgini, competing as one of the youngest players in a 90-player qualifying field, came out on top with medalist honors in result of a two-over-round of 73 on the signature Donald Ross track. While the young talent lacked experience compared to the rest of the field, he made up for it with a flashy style that was highlighted by a pair of timely, breathtaking birdies from off the green.

  “Today was just great all-around for me. We had so much fun out there,” said Pulgini, who hails from Middletown, Del. “I’ve been playing since I was six, for about 10 years now. My grandfather got me into [the game]. I played a lot of baseball growing up, but golf was the sport that I’ve chosen to stick with. And I just love it.”

  On the day, the cut line stopped at 75. An even-split of three professionals and three amateurs advanced to U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying. Pros Nick Tremps (Williamsburg, Va.), Michael Little (Lansdale, Pa.) and Martin Ureta (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla) moved on, while Pulgini, Jason Wilson (Orefield, Pa.) and La Salle University golfer P.J. Acierno (Flourtown, Pa.) make up the amateur group moving on. Brandon Matthews, winner of the 2015 Golf Association of Philadelphia Open Championship and a storied collegiate golfer who recently graduated from Temple University, grabbed the first alternate spot in a playoff. Philadelphia Publinks Golf Association’s Tyler Smith (Bath, Pa) took the second alternate spot available.

  Pulgini’s winning round was pointed towards Oakmont’s direction from the beginning. After leaving his approach shot 60 feet short on No. 1 (par 4, 444 yards), he turned to his trusty 7-iron, which he rolled on the green and in for birdie.

  On No. 15 (par 4, 480 yards), another signature moment arrived after Pulgini knocked his 4-iron to 20 feet off the putting surface. The juvenile jarred it again.

  “The first time I’ve ever played [Silver Creek] was yesterday,” he said. “I felt like my approach shots here really helped me out, but my putter saved me a lot out here. Overall, I’d have to say my game was pretty solid.”

  Pulgini is finishing up his sophomore year at Appoquinimink High School, where he is playing on a high school golf team for the first time. The Jaguars are undefeated on the season.

  According to the youngster, he is unsure where his Sectional Qualifying spot will be.

  “Wherever I end up playing next, I’m just looking to have a good time and have fun, no matter where that may be,” Pulgini said.

  Spoken like the true, talented 16-year-old he is.

  Wilson, who plays out of nearby Green Pond Country Club, finished at 3-over, good for a runner-up finish. The Lehigh Valley local came to Silver Creek with a goal of even par in mind. His mindset changed when the field was welcomed with gusty, and mostly cold, weather.

  “When I took the wind into consideration, I thought it might be a bit higher, but didn’t know exactly where it would end up,” said Wilson, 42. “After missing a few short ones out there, I thought I needed to make my par putt on No. 18 to be safe (par 4, 467 yards) but didn’t convert. Now that I know where the scores fell, I’m happy with what I did out there today.”

  Tied with Wilson at 3-over-par was Tremps, a 22-year-old who recently turned professional in February.

  Monday was the first time Tremps has stepped foot in Pennsylvania. Tremps, who played collegiately for three years at the University of Virginia and another at the College of Charleston, made it a worthwhile six-hour trip by advancing to his first U.S. Open Sectional in two tries.

  This was the second U.S. Open Local Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia in 2016. Christopher Crawford, a Drexel senior and member of Spring Mill Country Club, earned medalist honors in the first Qualifier at Moselem Springs Golf Club on May 12.

  The 116th U.S. Open will take place June 13-19 at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
  Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Name Score
(a) Matthew Pulgini, Middletown, Del. 73
(a) Jason Wilson, Orefield, Pa. 74
Nick Tremps, Williamsburg, Va. 74
Martin Ureta, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. 75
Michael Little, Lansdale, Pa. 75
(a) P.J. Acierno, Flourtown, Pa. 75
Alternates (in order)
*(a) Brandon Matthews, DuPont, Pa. 76
*(a) Tyler Smith, Bath, Pa. 76
Failed to qualify
*(a) Christopher Ault, Yardley, Pa. 76
*Rob Coyne, West Chester, Pa. 76
(a) Arthur Griffin, Lake Placid, N.Y. 77
(a) Peter Bradbeer, Rosemont, Pa. 77
(a) Benjamin Cooley, Rydal, Pa. 78
Brian Bergstol, Bangor, Pa. 78
Hugh Ellison, Bear, Del. 78
Mark Miller, Conshohocken, Pa. 78
Perry Parker, Laguna Niguel, Calif. 78
(a) Tyler Brewington, Red Bank, N.J. 78
(a) Frank Kohute, Newfield, N.J. 79
(a) Pa.trick McGinley, Bedford, N.H. 79
(a) Ron Robinson, Jr., Hatfield, Pa. 79
(a) Tom Timby, Doylestown, Pa. 79
Braden Shattuck, Aston, Pa. 80
Jordan Gibbs, Philadelphia, Pa. 80
Peter Badawy, Phoenix, Ariz. 80
(a) Peter Barron, III, Mays Landing, N.J. 80
Peter Lovenguth, Downingtown, Pa. 80
Bart Tizio, Bethlehem, Pa. 81
(a) Cory Siegfried, Villanova, Pa. 81
(a) Geoffrey Cooper, Erdenheim, Pa. 81
(a) Luca Jezzeny, Furlong, Pa. 81
Martin Nowicki, Syracuse, N.Y. 81
(a) Nicholas Maff, Bethlehem, Pa. 81
Patrick Luther, Novi, Mich. 81
Rick Lebeau, Conshohocken, Pa. 81
(a) Adam Sutovich, Breinigsville, Pa. 82
Brian Hollins, Mount Laurel, N.J. 82
(a) Eric Costa, Seminole, Fla. 82
(a) Eric Ostrosky, Bethlehem, Pa. 82
(a) Jacob Calamaro, Newtown Square, Pa. 82
(a) Kevin Kunkle, Walnutport, Pa. 82
(a) Kyle Pritchard, Northampton, Pa. 82
Matthew Baker, Orlando, Fla. 82
Trevor Bensel, Denver, Pa. 82
(a) Adam Benza, Hellertown, Pa. 83
Bob Dyer, Miamisburg, Ohio 83
David Grossman, York, Pa. 83
(a) Evan Notaro, Bath, Pa. 83
(a) John Updike, Wayne, Pa. 83
(a) Kevin Kramarski, Cinnaminson, N.J. 83
(a) Max Siegfried, Villanova, Pa. 83
(a) Quinn Dolan, Broomall, Pa. 83
Sean Szerencsits, Royersford, Pa. 83
(a) Stephen Welkie, Coopersburg, Pa. 83
(a) Wes Samons, Bloomfield, N.J. 83
(a) Wills Montgomery, Exton, Pa. 83
(a) Alexander Kim, Blue Bell, Pa. 84
(a) Brandon Vance, Audubon, Pa. 84
(a) Daniel Altieri, Skillman, N.J. 84
Joshua Kelley, Egg Harbor Township, N.J. 84
(a) Nick Johnson, Moosic, Pa. 84
Billy Hallman, New Tripoli, Pa. 85
(a) J.T. Barker, Bethlehem, Pa. 85
(a) John Warden, Ridgewood, N.J. 85
(a) Liam McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 85
(a) Michael Kania, Haverford, Pa. 85
(a) Phil Formica, Washington Crossing, Pa. 85
(a) Trey Croney, Bryn Mawr, Pa. 85
(a) Connor Vanin, Coopersburg, Pa. 86
(a) Drew Petri, New Hope, Pa. 86
Jason Hartline, East Stroudsburg, Pa. 86
(a) Luke Liddell, Philadelphia, Pa. 86
Nelson Hargrove, Haverford, Pa. 86
Sean Bozuk, Burlington, Ontario, Canada 86
(a) Thomas Dzwonczyk, N. Abington Township, Pa. 86
(a) Christian Haldeman, Center Valley, Pa. 87
Matt Cross, Allentown, Pa. 87
Mike Furey, Summit Hill, Pa. 87
(a) Steven Kluemper, Bethlehem, Pa. 87
Jimmy Baer, Kennett Square, Pa. 88
(a) Grant Schumaker, Macungie, Pa. 89
(a) Lonnie Pintande, Easton, Pa. 89
(a) Eric Perez, Center Valley, Pa. 91
(a) Steven Altieri, Skillman, N.J. 91
Erik Miller, Quinton, N.J. 95
John Murphy, Montvale, N.J. 95
Muhammad Aqeel, Radnor, Pa. 98
(a) Christian D’Annunzio, Oldwick, N.J. 103
Anthony Gage, Catonsville, Md. WD
(a) Brendan Worthy, Sarasota, Fla. WD
Curtis Hendricks, Watsontown, Pa. NC
David Taraschi, Pa.lmyra, N.J. WD
(a) Mark Benevento, Somers Point, N.J. NS
(a) Matthew Gaffney, Sewell, N.J. WD
Matthew Livingston, Jenkintown, Pa. NC
(a) Quinn Guzman, Souderton, Pa. WD
(a) Ryan Worthy, Sarasota, FL WD

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