Jul 06, 2005

Easton’s Hardin qualifies for Senior Open Championship

  KENNETT SQUARE, Pa.–Gary Hardin of Easton, Pa., the longtime head professional at Northampton CC, values the opportunity to compete in a national championship with the top players in the world. Hardin played on the PGA Tour in 1980-81 without success before turning in his tour card for the club professional business. He had to file away the ‘what could have been’ for the income of a steady job.

  “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be valued,” said the 53-year-old Hardin, who earned medallist honors at the U.S. Senior Open Qualifier held on Wednesday at Kennett Square G&CC (par 71, 6,368 yards) with a 3-under-par 68. “Every guy here would love to play in [either the Senior PGA or Senior Open].

  “I realized how much I kind of missed [the tour when I played at the Senior PGA Championship]. I wouldn’t say I was uncomfortable at the Senior PGA, but I had to adjust to the environment. As I told Tom Kite, it’s hard to spot guys 25 years and $25 million.”

  Hardin, amateur Chris Lange of Bryn Mawr, Pa., and club professional James Blair of Ogden, Utah, all made the 26th U.S. Senior Open Championship set for NCR Country Club in Kettering, Ohio on July 28-31. This Senior Open Championship Qualifier was one of 42 national qualifying sites to determine the remaining 79 positions available in the 156 player field.

  A total of 105 players, 64 amateurs and 41 professionals, attempted to qualify for one of the three available spots at Kennett Square.

  Hardin, who started his round on the back nine, chipped in for birdie from 30 feet on No. 12 (par 4, 380 yards) with a rescue wood from the fringe. Another short birdie on No. 16 (par 5, 460 yards) helped Hardin make the turn at 1-under-par 35.

  He knocked a gap wedge from 90 yards to three inches on No. 2 (par 4, 358 yards) for another birdie and then on No. 4 (par 4, 374 yards) bladed a sand wedge in for a three from 25 feet. He bogeyed only one hole in his round, the 14th (par 4, 345 yards).

  “I got a couple of good bounces,” said Hardin, who will be making his first U.S. Senior Open trip. “I put the ball in the fairways and hit a lot of greens. I think I missed only three or four greens today.”

  Lange is a veteran of USGA Championships. He’s qualified for a total of 12 national events (seven Amateur Championships, four Middle-Amateur Championships and one Junior Boys’ Championship). And as memorable as each of those experiences were, the 50-year-old Lange will get a chance to fulfill a childhood dream, of sorts at the U.S. Senior Open.

  Lange, the reigning Golf Association of Philadelphia Player of the Year, carded a 2-under-par 69, to qualify for his first U.S. Senior Open.

  “This is special because I’ll be playing will all the guys I grew up watching on television for so many years,” said Lange. “It would be great to play with an Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus or Hale Irwin but I don’t have a particular [favorite player]. It’s just going to be fun to be in an event with those guys.”

  Lange opened his round with eight straight pars, including a fortunate four on No. 8 (par 4, 419 yards). Lange’s drive bounced into and out of the stone creek that cuts through the fairway. On the ninth hole, Lange again got a little lucky when he pulled his second shot close to the out of bounds running down the left side of the fairway. His ball landed in play and hole high but a difficult little pitch shot with the green running away remained. He converted the resulting six footer for birdie.

  Lange carried that momentum over onto the backside.

  On No. 10 (par 4, 413 yards), his 9-iron from 130 yards landed 12 feet away. He made the putt. On the par 3, 171-yard, 11th hole, Lange ripped 5-iron that rolled 15 feet past the hole. He made that birdie putt as well.

  Lange recorded a lone blemish on No. 17 (par 4, 435 yards) when he blocked a pitching wedge from 120 yards right. He failed to get up and down, resulting in his only bogey. Lange also said he felt like he failed to keep pace with the field by registering just pars on No. 16 (par 5, 460 yards) and No. 18 (par 5, 458 yards).

  Blair, the club professional at Mulligan’s Golf & Game in Ogden, Utah, also carded a 2-under-par 69, on the strength of three birdies and one bogey.

  The 50-year-old Blair will be making his first U.S. Senior Open Championship appearance.

Qualifiers
Name Hometown Total
Gary Hardin Easton, PA 68
(a) Chris Lange Bryn Mawr, PA 69
James Blair Ogden, UT 69
Alternates (in order)
*Gary Ostrega Westfield, NJ 70
*(a) George Marucci, Jr. Malvern, PA 70
*(a) Michael Rose Huntingdon Valley, PA 70
*Peter Busch Scotch Plains, NJ 71
Failed to qualify
Douglas Steffen Summit, NJ 71
Ed Dougherty Boothwyn, PA 71
(a) Raymond Thompson Springfield, PA 71
Dan Haskell Medford, NJ 72
Don Brigham Rumson, NJ 72
(a) Francis McFadden Newtown Square, PA 72
James Miller Milford, PA 72
Jeffrey Osberg Elkton, MD 72
(a) Roc Irey Jamison, PA 72
(a) Thomas Borsello Wilmington, DE 72
(a) Chip Lutz Reading, PA 73
Don Deangelis Skippack, PA 73
(a) Harry Gianetti Bedminster, NJ 73
J.R. Delich Newtown Square, PA 73
Rick Osberg Chester Springs, PA 73
(a) Ronald Cusick Marlton, NJ 73
(a) Allan Small Florham Park, NJ 74
Billy Ziobro Brigantine, NJ 74
Cleve Coldwater Clarks Summit, PA 74
(a) Michael Domenick Phoenixville, PA 74
Rob Schaal Middlesex, NJ 74
(a) Robin McCool Bethlehem, PA 74
(a) William Lawler West Wyoming, PA 74
Bob Hibschman Hatboro, PA 75
(a) Bruce Eck Macungie, PA 75
Bruce Young Phillipsburg, NJ 75
(a) Charles McClaskey Elkton, MD 75
Dan Wood Orlando, FL 75
(a) Donald Meyer Potomac, MD 75
(a) Jay Blumenfeld Parsippany, NJ 75
(a) Jim Prendergast Limerick, PA 75
Joe Tesori Syracuse, NY 75
(a) Mark Surtees Middletown, DE 75
Michael Thompson Exton, PA 75
(a) Rich Kovacs Bethlehem, PA 75
(a) Ronald Bubes Bethesda, MD 75
(a) Ronald Vannelli Edison, NJ 75
(a) Anthony Smarrelli Syracuse, NY 76
Bill Osetek Valley Cottage, NY 76
(a) Jim Haynie North Wales, PA 76
Jim Muschlitz Bath, PA 76
Mike Moraghan Afton, VA 76
Roger Simpkins Bethlehem, PA 76
(a) Tom Lusto Saylorsburg, PA 76
(a) Charles Dowds Glenside, PA 77
(a) Drew Panebianco Dresher, PA 77
Frank Palumbo Havertown, PA 77
(a) Jarrett Kling Radnor, PA 77
(a) Jeff Ranck Lewisburg, PA 77
(a) John Register Ellicott City, MD 77
(a) Mike Owsik Bryn Mawr, PA 77
Nick Paolucci Pottstown, PA 77
(a) Vince Scarpetta Moosic, PA 77
Fred Robinson North Wales, PA 78
(a) John Gershey Clarks Summit, PA 78
John Kulhamer Bethlehem, PA 78
Ken Peyre-Ferry Marlton, NJ 78
Larry Wise Center Valley, PA 78
(a) Michael Fox Berwyn, PA 78
Mickey Dulina Hazleton, PA 78
(a) Richard Custer Royersford, PA 78
(a) Robert Housen Brielle, NJ 78
(a) Andy Thompson Newtown Square, PA 79
(a) Bryan Borda Darnestown, MD 79
(a) Frank Polizzi Bryn Mawr, PA 79
(a) Herbert Stevens North Kingstown, RI 79
John Klocksin Morristown, NJ 79
Leo Glutting Mullica Hill, NJ 79
(a) Pete Widdoes Landenberg, PA 79
(a) Rich Thon Swarthmore, PA 79
Richard Wynn Escondido, CA 79
(a) Walter Wolfe Millville, NJ 79
Arthur Waerig Fort Washington, PA 80
(a) Kevin Scanlon Media, PA 80
(a) Michael Moser Kennett Square, PA 80
(a) Rick Rarick Darien, CT 80
(a) Vince Yost Harleysville, PA 80
(a) Douglas Goepfert Hershey, PA 81
(a) Gary Daniels Berwyn, PA 81
(a) Joe Viechnicki Bethlehem, PA 81
(a) Robert Dietrich Colts Neck, NJ 81
(a) Thomas Dicinti Voorhees, NJ 81
(a) Chick Kozloff Hobe Sound, FL 82
(a) David Derminio Center Valley, PA 82
(a) Thomas Mallouk Doylestown, PA 82
(a) Al Flora Shickshinny, PA 83
(a) Dominic Lyons Hazleton, PA 83
(a) Larry Novinger Millersburg, PA 83
James Lee Cheltenham, PA 84
(a) Scott Schumacher Woodstown, NJ 84
Charles Weidman Lehighton, PA WD
Edward Whitman Blairstown, NJ WD
(a) Gerry Barnett Brielle, NJ WD
Jong Lee Glenside, PA WD
(a) Marty Agger Cape May, NJ NS
*-determined in playoff
WD-withdrawal; NC-no card

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