Jul 10, 2018

Arsenault, Sebastianelli headline U.S. Amateur Qual. at Laurel Creek

July 10, 2018

MT. LAUREL, N.J. — A pair of twentysomethings with something to prove populated a U.S. Amateur Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia at a serene Laurel Creek Country Club (par 71, 6,865 yards) Tuesday.

Scorecards | Photo gallery |

  Little Mill Country Club’s Zach Arsenault, a self-motivated striker looking to showcase his competitive chops, and Huntsville Golf Club’s Anthony Sebastianelli, an equally-motivated smasher battling back from injury and ineffectiveness, both gained respective berths in their first national championship. Arsenault, 24, of Medford, N.J., earned medalist honors with a 5-under-par 137. Sebastianelli, 23, of Clarks Summit, Pa., also finished in red figures, filing a 3-under-par 139.

  The U.S. Amateur will take place Aug. 13-19 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.

  “We all have something to prove. A lot of it is to ourselves,” Arsenault, who flips houses in Camden, N.J., said. “I know why I’m here and what I wanted to accomplish. I wasn’t going to let anything swipe into that. [The U.S. Amateur] is a chance to play with the big dogs.”

  “It’s been a weird summer,” Sebastianelli, a recent Central Connecticut State University, graduate, added. “My back’s been bothering me. On top of that, about two weeks before the BMW Philadelphia Amateur, I got a really bad finger infection, and I couldn’t play golf. I had to get it cut open and drained. It was just a nightmare.

  “This proves to myself that I can compete and my game is there. It shows that the long driving range sessions and early mornings of putting have paid off. It makes it easier to wake up and go to the course in the morning.”

  In addition to an internal fire, Arsenault felt ignited by his caddies Tuesday — Jim Frail, his uncle, in the morning, and Jim, his dad, in the afternoon.

  “With family on the bag, you have something more to play for. I just executed today,” Arsenault said. “I had a strategy going in: play aggressive, trust the driver. The driver is usually my strength, so I just relied on it.”

  Here’s a statistic that reveals how impressive that driver was Tuesday: 25 of 28 available fairways hit. He registered eight birdies, three bogeys and plethora of two-putt pars on the day.

  Arsenault birdied his final two holes of the morning session to finish two strokes back of 18-hole leader Matthew Long of Glen Brook Golf Club, who opened with a 66. On the severe dogleg left No. 8 (par 4, 346 yards), Arsenault knocked a 56-degree from 130 yards onto the fringe and buried a 35-footer. He reached the par 5, 555-yard No. 9 in two with a 4-iron from 220 yards. A two-putt for birdie followed.

  A reticent Arsenault showed no wear or tear in the afternoon. He immediately avenged a bogey on No. 2 (par 4, 376 yards) with a birdie on No. 3 (par 3, 161 yards). After sending a 7-iron into greenside left, Arsenault faced a lie that favored putter in the short grass. He trusted the line and drained a 35-footer. Arsenault again inked red on a pair of par 5s in Nos. 9 and 15 (par 5, 520 yards). On the first, a booming drive nearly entered the water hazard. Fortunately for Arsenault, the short grass grabbed it. He then grabbed a 9-iron, towered it 170 yards to 15 feet and cozied the eagle putt into kick-in range. Arsenault reached the 15th green in two with a 6-iron from 210 yards. Two putts, more red.

  Arsenault capped his arduous campaign in style with a birdie on No. 18 (par 4, 445 yards). The muscular masher again split the fairway with a monstrous drive. A 52-degree wedge from 135 yards put Arsenault 15 feet below the hole location. The ensuing putt sparked a rare smirk.

  Professionally, Arsenault is hoping to play a hand in revitalizing Camden, a once-prominent metropolis in the nation. Such drive shapes his on-course demeanor, and his outlook on Pebble Beach.

  “I want to be a part of the underdog stories. I’d like to think I am one,” Arsenault said. “I have a lot of friends I met in Camden. The stigma overshadows the truth.”

  Unlike Arsenault, Sebastianelli only equipped driver on five occasions at Laurel Creek.

  “I had no clue where my golf ball was going. My short game, and my putter, saved me,” Sebastianelli said. “I didn’t really put myself in trouble. All in all, it was pretty good.”

  An eagle to close his opening round thrust Sebastianelli into second after 18 holes. On No. 9, he launched a 7-iron 183 yards to 10 feet.

  “[After bogeys on Nos. 5 and 6], I needed something to get me back into it. To make that putt was huge,” Sebastianelli, who intends to dedicate this summer to competitive golf before deciding on the professional route, said. “It made me really confident. Things like that, when you look back on it, make the biggest difference.”

  A putting grip adjustment also made a difference. Sebastianelli tweaked the position of his left hand, which boosted confidence and made short-to-mid range looks less stressful.

  “I found something yesterday, playing a little fun match with a couple of my friends. I’m really happy that it led into today,” he said. “Qualifying means the world to me. It’s crazy. It shows you the roller coaster of golf, the highs and the lows. I was in a lull a few weeks ago. I was struggling with my game. I couldn’t get anything going.”

  The par 5, 511-yard No. 5 gave Sebastianelli the jolt needed to get going in the afternoon. He pulled driver, swung with all his might and slammed it down the right side. Sebastianelli then powered an 8-iron to the front of the green and two putted for birdie.

Golf Association of Philadelphia
Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 260 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across Eastern Pennsylvania and parts of 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.

Qualifiers
Name, city R1-R2–Total
Zach Arsenault, Medford, N.J. 68-69–137
Anthony Sebastianelli, Clarks Summit, Pa. 67-72–139
Alternates (in order)
Matthew Long, East Stroudsburg, Pa. 66-76–142
Lukas Clark, Holland, Pa. 71-72–143
Failed to qualify
Dawson Anders, Telford, Pa. 76-69–145
Kyle Brey, Farmingdale, N.Y. 72-73–145
Benjamin Smith, Philadelphia, Pa. 77-71–148
Ambrose Abbracciamento, Newtown, Pa. 73-75–148
Johnny Bush, Cranford, N.J. 71-77–148
Kevin Smith, Wallingford, Pa. 76-72–148
Jerome Moore, Orondo, Wash. 79-70–149
Ryan Schneiter, New York, N.Y. 76-74–150
David Colleran, Radnor, Pa. 75-75–150
Jared Robinson, Pinehurst, N.C. 74-76–150
Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 79-72–151
Kevin Kramarski, Cinnaminson, N.J. 72-79–151
Ron Robinson, Hatfield, Pa. 77-74–151
Alex Rubino, Charlotte, N.C. 71-80–151
Justin Elwell, Washington Township, N.J. 77-74–151
Patrick McRae, Canada 76-75–151
Paul Stankey, Wayzata, MN 74-77–151
John Spina, Schwenksville, Pa. 73-79–152
Stephen Sul, Old Bridge, N.J. 79-73–152
Andrew Mullen, Pawleys Island, S.C. 79-73–152
Alex Golland, Wynnewood, Pa. 80-73–153
Robert Falconer, Carlisle, Pa. 76-78–154
Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 78-76–154
Rich Buckner, Gainesville, Va. 78-76–154
Rocco Sgrillo, Philadelphia, Pa. 82-72–154
Gregory Deluca, Langhorne, Pa. 72-83–155
Erik Reisner, Philadelphia, Pa. 80-75–155
Tyler Brewington, Oceanport, N.J. 82-73–155
Ben Cutler, Australia 72-83–155
Daniel Simonsen, Conshohocken, Pa. 80-75–155
Michael Winter, Hamilton, N.J. 76-79–155
Noah Schwartz, Cherry Hill, N.J. 79-77–156
Stephen Barry, Mullica Hill, N.J. 78-78–156
Geoffrey Cooper, Erdhenheim, Pa. 75-82–157
Richard Stolz, Mount Royal, N.J. 82-75–157
Paul Meints, La Feria, Texas 76-82–158
Alec Ryden, Moorestown, N.J. 83-75–158
Griffin Smith, Holland, Pa. 77-81–158
Andrew Wallace, Narberth, Pa. 77-82–159
Brandon Capone, Columbus, N.J. 81-79–160
Michael Mitnick, Linwood, N.J. 83-78–161
Daniel Rieger, Collegeville, Pa. 81-80–161
Billy Hallman, New Tripoli, Pa. 81-81–162
Connor Vanin, Philadelphia, Pa. 85-77–162
Andrew Kotler, Skillman, N.J. 83-80–163
Adam Bracy, Edgewater Park, N.J. 79-85–164
Brent Schoeller, Jenkintown, Pa. 84-82–166
KyungHwan Chung, Nicaragua 81-92–173
Kurt Paseka, Bayside, N.Y. DQ-DQ–DQ
Varun Sikand, Colts Neck, N.J. NS-NS–NS
Michael Wolf, Drexel Hill, Pa. NS-NS–NS
James Kania Jr., Haverford, Pa. 72-WD–WD
Michael Lewis-Goldman, New York, N.Y. 74-WD–WD
Eric Dargis, Vineland, N.J. 75-WD–WD
Drew Mulcahy, Gladstone, N.J. 76-WD–WD
Chris Binder, Collingswood, N.J. 77-WD–WD
Mario Saludes, Wheeling, W. Va. 77-WD–WD
Sean McMonagle, Merchantville, N.J. 78-WD–WD
Robert Cocorikis, Monroe, N.J. 79-WD–WD
Kenneth Taras, Moorestown, N.J. 80-WD–WD
Zachary Mullock, Cape May, N.J. 81-WD–WD
Andreas Aivazoglou, Glen Mills, Pa. 82-WD–WD
JH Park, Blue Bell, Pa. 82-WD–WD
Frank Nattle, Phoenixville, Pa. 83-WD–WD
Andrew Curran, Media, Pa. WD-WD–WD
Hayden Rousselle, Buckingham, Pa. WD-WD–WD
Cory Siegfried, Haverford, Pa. WD-WD–WD
Blake Vogdes, Cape May, N.J. WD-WD–WD
George Marucci, Villanova, Pa. WD-WD–WD
Sean Sigall, Sicklerville, N.J. WD-WD–WD
Trey Swanson, West Chester, Pa. WD-WD–WD
Jake Weilheimer, Newton, Mass. WD-WD–WD
Kevin Sarlo, Jr., Burlington, N.J. WD-WD–WD
DQ-disqualification; NS-no show; WD-withdrawal

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