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.
|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|