July 24, 2018
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Two days, two delays, and finally, two national championship qualifiers.
| Scorecards |
Water levels subsided on Tuesday afternoon, allowing Michael Brennan and Blake Windred to earn berths in a U.S. Amateur Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia at Chambersburg Country Club (par 73, 6,720 yards).
Brennan, a 16-year-old Wake Forest University commit, filed matchings rounds of 69 en route to an 8-under total of 138 and medalist honors. He bettered a field of 78 hopefuls – one that saw only 33 players complete both rounds.
Windred, a top-ranked amateur from Australia, carded a first-round 69, followed by a 71, leading to a 6-under 140 total. The 20-year-old came out victorious in a 3-for-1 playoff thanks to a 10-foot, fist-pumping birdie on the first playoff hole to advance. Rutgers University’s Oliver Whatley of Rockville, Md. claimed the first alternate position, while Kennesaw State University’s Wyatt Larkin of Morganton, Ga. grabbed the second available.
The #USAmateur Championship will be played at Pebble Beach Golf Links (Pebble Beach, Calif.) on August 13-19.
Chambersburg, the junior golf home of USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, withstood intense flooding and rainfall from Saturday into Tuesday morning. Issues were caused, and cart paths turned into rivers, but it wouldn’t be enough to stop Brennan and Windred from claiming their invites.
After getting underway at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, play was suspended promptly at 1:48 p.m., followed by a postponement announcement at 3:14 p.m. Overwhelming flooding – specifically on the areas near holes Nos. 3, 12 and 15 – was deemed a safety concern as water began to rush downstream from the mountain’s north of the course.
LedgeRock Golf Club’s J.D. Hughes, a junior standout at Penn State University, held the overnight lead after Monday’s limited action with a 6-under 67.
“[Six under] is a good number. But once I got through nine holes [at 5 under], all I wanted was more putts to fall. I had so many good looks there that didn’t go,” said Hughes, 22, of Carlisle, Pa., after his first round. “I’m exhausted, to be honest with you. The plan is to go home and get some sleep since it’s going to be an early one tomorrow.”
An early one it was, as play resumed Tuesday at 8 a.m. under a steady stream of rain. The morning golf session didn’t last long. Ponding water began to build on putting greens and kept players off the course until play resumed at 12:45 p.m. when a finishing window presented itself.
Hughes found trouble just before the delay on the par-5, 535-yard 15th. He’d go on to finish the hole after the break, collecting a triple-bogey 8 to knock him off the lead.
It was then when Brennan made his move to the top.
On No. 4 (par 4, 410 yards), his driver found the right-center of the fairway, followed by a wedge approach from 145 yards out that led to a 12-foot birdie conversion. No. 6 (par 4, 407 yards) hosted the next red digit. A warrant drive went into the right trees, but Brennan was able to lift a 50-degree wedge over the branches from 130 yards, resulting in an eventual 15-foot birdie make. Another 3 fell on No. 8 (par 4, 370 yards). Brennan bombed driver down the center, and with just 76 yards in, he placed a 60-degree wedge to pin-high left. That attempt hit nothing but the bottom of the cup, moving Brennan to 7-under total at the turn.
“I had no idea where I stood. I didn’t really want to know, considering the greens were soft and the shorter yardages,” said Brennan, of Leesburg, Va. “There was no point in adding extra pressure, plus I knew I wanted to attack flagsticks all round anyway.”
Brennan’s finishing nine wasn’t as red, but eight pars and a two-putt birdie on No. 14 (par 5, 535 yards) got him in the clubhouse ahead of the pack. More importantly, it was good enough to earn an invitation to Pebble Beach.
“I can’t believe I’m going to play Pebble,” he said. “I’ve only been to the West coast, for a very short time, so I’m very, very excited.”
The future Demon Deacon, who committed to Wake Forest in June, is now set to make his USGA debut. The reigning Virginia State Golf Association Junior Boys’ Golfer of the Year will head to Pebble as one of the youngest competitors, but also with plenty to prove.
“I obviously don’t have as much experience as many of the other guys, but I’m looking forward to playing in the biggest national amateur tournament there is. It’s a big deal,” said Brennan. “I’ve played in the U.S. Open Sectionals twice over the past two seasons, which was great, but this is also big for me.”
In the event’s 3-for-1 playoff, Windred surfaced with the invitation. He’s been away from the land down under for eight weeks, but the international journey was all worth it in the end for the Aussie. “It’s possibly the greatest feeling, especially knowing how tough the past few weeks and days have been for me. All I wanted to do was win at all costs – even if I had to stay for another week to wait out the rain delay,” said Windred.
Ranked 54th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), Windred just missed on a top-50 exemption into the championship proper. He wouldn’t let that cause him to miss out.
“It’s very rewarding for me to have gotten the job done. I’ve kind of put all of my eggs into one basket trying to become a professional golfer one day. Not many of us go to college in Australia, because we have our own golf academies and development programs,” said Windred, who plays in the Golf New South Wales’ program. “I wouldn’t want to do anything else, and it’s all worth it in times like these.”
The support he has received from home was what fueled his prevailing performance. A post-round phone call to his parents brought an unforgettable smile to Windred’s face.
“They’re the people who are helping me fund my dream,” he said. “I’ve had to change flights many times, and even ask for more meals, so it feels fantastic to reward them at the same time.”
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.
|Michael Brennan, Leesburg, Va.||69-69–138|
|*Blake Windred, Australia||69-71–140|
|Alternates (in order)|
|*Oliver Whatley, Rockville, Md.||70-70–140|
|*Wyatt Larkin, Morganton, Ga.||69-71–140|
|Failed to qualify|
|Henry Westmoreland, Wacissa, Fla.||72-69–141|
|Charles Musto, Sterling, Va.||72-71–143|
|Kyle Vance, Audubon, Pa.||71-72–143|
|Jason Wilson, Orefield, Pa.||70-73–143|
|J.D. Hughes, Carlisle, Pa.||67-77–144|
|Elliott Grayson, Shelby, N.C.||72-73–145|
|Zack Henry, Front Royal, Va.||74-71–145|
|Maxwell Moldovan, Uniontown, Ohio||71-74–145|
|Jacob Reilly, Hershey, Pa.||72-73–145|
|Pieter Degroot, Potomac, Md.||71-75–146|
|Justin Emmons, Asheboro, N.C.||73-73–146|
|David Luo, Centreville, Va.||71-75–146|
|Connor Flach, Ellicott City, Md.||73-74–147|
|Quentin Griffith, Pennsauken, N.J.||72-75–147|
|Mark Johnson, St. Simons Island, Ga.||73-74–147|
|Matthew Barnes, Bethesda, Md.||70-78–148|
|Steve Crain, Dillsburg, Pa.||73-75–148|
|Derek Baker, Waynesboro, Pa.||70-79–149|
|Blaine Lafferty, Marlton, N.J.||75-74–149|
|Karsen Rush, Chambersburg, Pa.||73-76–149|
|Ryan Barnett, Philadelphia, Pa.||70-80–150|
|Bradley Calloway, Asheboro, N.C.||75-76–151|
|Michael Hoare, Mechanicsburg, Pa.||73-80–153|
|Ryan Kelly, Annapolis, Md.||70-83–153|
|Andrew Forjan, York, Pa.||78-77–155|
|Owen Brown, Coatesville, Pa.||80-76–156|
|Terence Schmutz, Brinklow, Md.||75-83–158|
|Austin Schreffler, Dillsburg, Pa.||75-85–160|
|Jordan Shaffer, Fayetteville, Pa.||79-82–161|
|Noah Firestone, Annville, Pa.||72-WD–WD|
|David Herbst, Mechanicsburg, Pa.||74-WD–WD|
|Daniel Hurley, Washington, D.C.||74-WD–WD|
|Oliver White, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.||74-WD–WD|
|Sam Weaver, Darnestown, Md.||74-WD–WD|
|David Pompey, Clarks Summit, Pa.||75-WD–WD|
|Matt Kocolowski, Baltimore, Md.||75-WD–WD|
|Mac Harris, Orlando, Fla.||75-WD–WD|
|Ryan Dornes, Lancaster, Pa.||76-WD–WD|
|John Buliga, Langhorne, Pa.||76-WD–WD|
|Colin Warren, Rockville Centre, N.Y.||76-WD–WD|
|Austin Crowder, Greenwood, In.||77-WD–WD|
|Scott Kegerreis, Chambersburg, Pa.||77-WD–WD|
|Mark Lyszczasz, Green Brook, N.J.||77-WD–WD|
|Marc Oliveri, Lancaster, Pa.||77-WD–WD|
|Jalen Griffin, San Francisco, Calif.||77-WD–WD|
|Ian Hildebrand, Purcellville, Va.||78-WD–WD|
|Bryan Morris, Beltsville, Md.||78-WD–WD|
|Chris Navarro, Davidsonville, Md.||78-WD–WD|
|Chris Rockwell, Baltimore, Md.||78-WD–WD|
|Luke Schaap, Potomac, Md.||78-WD–WD|
|Matthew Bastian, Media, Pa.||79-WD–WD|
|Benjamin Pochet, Royersford, Pa.||79-WD–WD|
|Scott Hall, Shippensburg, Pa.||79-WD–WD|
|Gregory Welsh, Ambler, Pa.||81-WD–WD|
|Noah Firmstone, Moon Township, Pa.||80-WD–WD|
|Benjamin Esposito, Pittsboro, N.C.||82-WD–WD|
|Michael Disante, York Haven, Pa.||82-WD–WD|
|Jesse Hazam, Mechanicsburg, Pa.||83-WD–WD|
|Jason Koshinski, Mechanicsburg, Pa.||83-WD–WD|
|Karl Frisk, Spring Grove, Pa.||84-WD–WD|
|Yida Wang, Potomac, Md.||87-WD–WD|
|Eric Buckland, Lancaster, Pa.||87-WD–WD|
|Ryan Coccagna, Converse, Texas||88-WD–WD|
|Anthony Barr, Harleysville, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Ryan Crabtree, Williamsport, Md.||WD-WD–WD|
|Adam Cranford, Mountain Brook, Ala.||WD-WD–WD|
|Matt Kreider, Lititz, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Patrick Mitchell, Scranton, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Christopher Stager, Bethlehem, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Alex Urrea, Presto, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Justin Young, Salem, Va.||WD-WD–WD|
|Michael Zeng, Downingtown, Pa.||WD-WD–WD|
|Jacob Zeng, Downingtown, Pa.||NS-NS–NS|
|Phillip Held, Lafayette Hill, Pa.||NS-NS–NS|
|* – decided in playoff|
|WD – withdrawal; NS – no show|
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