May 14, 2012

Cuzzort heads U.S. Open Qualifier at Back Creek

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Tournaments, USGA

U.S Open Qualifier

MIDDLETOWN, Del. — Steven Cuzzort is less than 24 hours away from starting a new job as an assistant professional at Back Creek Golf Club, but he is already making headlines at his soon-to-be workplace.

  The 24 year-old, four days-and-counting Middletown, Del. resident scorched his new digs (par 71, 6,578 yards) to the tune of a 4-under-par 67 to grab one of two qualifying spots in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia Monday. He will now head to Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J. for Sectional qualifying June 4.

   “I was a little nervous coming in. Buddy [Reed, one of Back Creek’s owners] was the only person I knew in Delaware,” Cuzzort said. “I’m sure that some of the members will be happy to see I can actually play.”   Back Creek’s membership is now fully aware of Cuzzort’s competitive chops. He registered 16 greens in regulation en route to posting the event’s lone subpar score.

   “I drove it pretty poorly, but I wasn’t too far offline,” Cuzzort said. “I was able to get on the green from there and birdied the holes I could. I was pretty mistake-free. I kept it in play all day and made easy pars.”

  On No. 1 (par 4, 412 yards), Cuzzort knocked a wedge 120 yards to 10 feet for birdie. A 97-yard wedge set up on the par 4, 386-yard No. 7 presented Cuzzort with a kick-in birdie.

  On his outward tour, Cuzzort continued to navigate Back Creek like a savvy veteran. He powered a hybrid 245 yards to 20 feet right of the No. 11 (par 5, 560 yards) flagstick and two-putted for birdie. Cuzzort pitched onto the No. 15 (par 4, 410 yards) green and drained downhill eight-footer for a fourth red figure. Cuzzort watched his 4-iron on the par 3, 203-yard 17th hole clear the water hazard and stop eight feet flag-high left. He cleaned up the birdie putt.

  Cuzzort’s lone blemish occurred on the par 4, 459-yard 13th hole. He couldn’t save par from the front bunker following a wrong club choice for his approach.

  Monday marked Cuzzort’s fourth attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open. He’s advanced to Sectionals twice. “It’s been a lackluster career so far,” Cuzzort said. “I’m learning as I go. I just want to keep getting better.”

  A Grosse Ile., Mich. native, Cuzzort turned professional after graduating from Michigan State University in 2009. He played on mini-tour events and caddied at Calusa Pines Golf Club in Naples, Fla., where he met Reed.

   “He told me about this place [Back Creek], so I came up,” Cuzzort said. “It’ll get me playing every day again and I’ll be around a bunch of good guys. I’m looking forward to it.”

  Greg Matthias, an amateur out of Hartefeld National, edged Eric Onesi, a professional who resides in Bear, Del., in a sudden-death playoff to gain the reamining qualifying spot Monday. He fired a 3 on the second playoff hole (No. 2, par 3, 200 yards) to prevail. Matthias, of Wilmington, Del., two-putted from 20 feet after reaching the green with a 6-iron. Both he and Onesi carded respective even-par 71s in regulation.

   “I’m relieved right now, but I’m sure in a couple hours, I’ll look back and be really proud of the way I held in there,” Matthias, 21, a senior at the University of Delaware, said. “I had some bad breaks out there, but held it together to get into the playoff.”

  In regulation, Matthias stood at 1 under thru 16 holes before a three-putt for bogey on No. 17. He executed a clutch two-putt for par from the far right fringe on No. 18 (par 4, 459 yards) to force an extra session.

  Matthias is hitting his stride at the right time. He won the Colonial Athletic Conference Championship two weeks ago to earn a spot in NCAA Regionals, which begin this week in Michigan. Matthias will travel to Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. for U.S. Open Sectional qualifying June 4.   The 112th U.S. Open will be held June 14-17 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif.

  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 145 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. 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, city, state Score
Steven Cuzzort, Grosse Ile, Mich. 67
(a) *Greg Matthias, Wilmington, Del. 71
Alternates (in order)
*Eric Onesi, Bear, Del. 71
(a) *Sean Fahey, Villanova, Pa. 72
Failed to qualify
*Billy Stewart, Devon, Pa. 72
Stephen Boyd, Danville, Va. 73
David Taraschi, Haddonfield, N.J. 73
(a) Mike Meisenzahl, Medford, N.J. 74
(a) Rich Thon, Swarthmore, Pa. 74
(a) Thomas Timby Jr., Doylestown, Pa. 74
(a) Nicholas Iacono, Hockessin, Del. 74
(a) Jalen Griffin, Ambler, Pa. 74
Mike Dynda, Blue Bell, Pa. 74
Zachary Lese, Silver Spring, Md. 74
Jay Whitby, Wyoming, Del. 75
Christopher Osberg, Lewes, Del. 75
Chris Krueger, Rehoboth Beach, Del. 75
(a) Scott Davidson, Round Hill, Va. 75
(a) Dave Fardon, Center Valley, Pa. 75
(a) Oliver White, Lower Gwynedd, Pa. 76
(a) David West, Downingtown, Pa. 78
(a) Geoffrey Cooper, Philadelphia, Pa. 78
Leo Nebbia, Yardville, N.J. 79
Justin Martinson, Avondale, Pa. 79
(a) James Wolfe, Pottstown, Pa. 80
(a) Buddy Reed, Middletown, Del. 80
(a) Greg Wolfe, Newark, Del. 80
(a) James Braunsberg, Plymouth Meeting, Pa. 81
(a) David Lynch, Rising Sun, Md. 81
Tom Eisenacher, Middletown, Del. 81
(a) George Henry, Avondale, Pa. 82
(a) Jon-Michael Socaris, Chadds Ford, Pa. 83
Andrew Barbin, Elkton, Md. WD
(a) James Kania, Jr., Haverford, Pa. WD
(a) Andrew Lawson, West Chester, Pa. WD
Michael Rushin, Lewes, Del. WD
Michael Williams, New Castle, Del. WD

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