Four players head U.S. Open Qualifier at The Springhaven Club - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

May 17, 2010

Four players head U.S. Open Qualifier at The Springhaven Club

WALLINGFORD, Pa. – Amory Davis and Ben Kohles both play on the University of Virginia men’s golf team, and on Monday, the two came to The Springhaven Club (par 70, 6,531 yards) together to compete in a U.S. Open Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia.

  And qualify, they did. Both Davis, of Bidermann GC, and Kohles, an amateur out of Prestonwood CC in Cary, N.C., as well William Mullen, an assistant professional at Jeffersonville GC, and Jon Rusk, a professional who plays out of Yardley CC, carded a 1-under-par 69 to earn medalist honors in Monday’s qualifier. All four players will now head to Sectional qualifying. The U.S. Open will be held June 17-20 Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.

  For Davis, a junior, Monday may have a provided a much-needed jolt in his golf game. He hasn’t felt truly comfortable on the course so far this spring.

  “Down at school, I’ve played in every tournament for the team. I haven’t played really well,” he said. “I’ve just struggled off the tee a lot, and even today, I didn’t really hit it in the fairway. I hit some good recovery shots and just hung in there.”

  Davis, 21, leveled his play after an opening bogey on No. 1 (par 4, 417 yards). He crushed his drive into the trees, chipped back onto the fairway, drilled his sand wedge 118 yards but failed to convert a 10-footer for par. The Chadds Ford, Pa. resident then followed a string of pars with a birdie on No. 7 (par 4, 448 yards). After his tee shot kicked back onto the fairway, Davis stuck his 7-iron 173 yards to six-feet and sunk his birdie putt.

  But a bogey on No. 8 (par 5, 544 yards) bounced Davis back over the blue. He nuked a sand wedge 128 yards into the rough, chipped his ball a few feet past the flagstick and missed the comebacker for par.

  Davis avenged that bogey by logging a birdie on No. 10 (par 4, 426 yards). His approach 8-iron soared 166 yards and landed five-feet from the flagstick. Davis launched his 6-iron 192 yards to the back of the No. 12 (par 5, 516 yards) green and two-putted for birdie. He then made pars and kept his play steady for the remainder of his inward trek to finish at 1 under.

  This will mark Davis’ third Sectionals appearance. In 2008, he qualified as first alternate after missing one of two spots by a stroke.

  “I’d love to make it this year,” Davis said.

  Like his teammate and friend, Kohles, a sophomore, aspires to attain a spot in the U.S. Open field. He took his first step toward fulfilling that desire Monday.

  “It’s a great feeling. Having the chance to play in the U.S. Open is awesome,” Kohles said.

  Kohles, of Cary, N.C., earned his first red figure on No. 2 (par 5, 546 yards) by nailing his wedge 70 yards and draining a 10-footer. Trouble arose on the 8th hole, however. After his tee ball found the right-side trees, Kohles punched his 3-iron into the left-side trees and went on to card a double bogey.

  “I didn’t get too mad. I was still playing pretty good,” he said.

  Such confidence appeared evident as Kohles fired three straight birdies to begin his inward tour. On No. 10 (par 4, 426 yards), his 5-iron overcame the wind, sailed 185 yards and settled 20-feet from the flagstick. Kohles executed the ensuing birdie try. He hit a cut 7-iron 173 yards around the trees on No. 11 (par 4, 450 yards) to six-feet and cleaned up the putt. Kohles stayed hot on No. 12 (par 5, 516 yards). After rocketing his hybrid 235 yards into the front bunker, he blasted out and sunk a 6-footer for birdie.

  Kohles’ score regressed after bogeys on Nos. 15 (par 4, 388 yards) and 16 (par 3, 168 yards). On the first, he failed to reach the green on his third shot and later two-putted, and on the latter, Kohles drilled his 7-iron to 35-feet left of the flagstick. His first putt came up short, and Kohles, 20, pushed his next attempt 10-feet feet past.

  Sensing that he needed one more birdie coming in, Kohles hit a cut 7-iron 173 yards around the trees onto the green and rolled in a 20-footer on No. 18 (par 4, 386 yards).

  “I’ve been playing real good,” he said. “I’ve been hitting it off the tee good this whole semester. I just started hitting it a little off-and-on today. I don’t know why.”

  After qualifying Monday, both Davis and Kohles traveled to Yale University to compete in Regionals.

  On the professional side, consistency kept Mullen afloat Monday.

  “I hit it pretty solid all day,” he said. “Everything was right on target. I didn’t really get in trouble most of the day.”

  Right out of the gate, Mullen, 27, fired a birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 417 yards). Standing in the left-side of the fairway, 162 yards from the flagstick, he drilled his 8-iron to within 10-feet and converted a downhill, left-to-right breaker. Another red figure came on the par 3, 191-yard No. 3. Mullen, of Jeffersonville, Pa., hit a knock-down 5-iron above the flagstick and sunk a downhill 20-footer from the back edge of the green. He posted his third and final birdie on No. 8 (par 5, 544 yards). Although he missed the green with his approach-hybrid from 236 yards out, Mullen flopped his wedge to within 12-feet and converted the comebacker.

  “All day, I had a good read of the greens,” he said.

  On Mullen’s inward tour, three holes proved problematic. He pulverized his tee shot on No. 10 (par 4, 426 yards) into the trees, but managed to recover by striking his 9-iron 142-yards onto the green and to escape with a two-putt for par. However, on No. 12 (par 5, 516 yards), Mullen left his 3-iron from 220 yards out short of the green and failed to get up-and-down for par. He also carded a bogey on his final hole, the par 4, 386-yard No. 18. He pierced his GAP wedge 118 yards to 40-feet from the flagstick, but left it short and missed his next putt.

  “I said to my caddie on the way up to the (No. 18) green that every putt I hit had a chance to go in. I wasn’t really too worried about it,” Mullen said. “I saw the scores coming up No. 17 and saw that I was still in the lead, so I was trying to get two pars and get out of there. But hey, I’ll take 1 under.”

  To prepare for today’s qualifier, Mullen engaged in a practice session at Jeffersonville GC with head professional Michael Housley.

  “I got things figured out,” he said.

Mullen previously advanced to Sectionals three years ago. He earned medalist honors in a qualifier at the Golf Course at Glen Mills.   Davis, Kohles and Mullen will now head to Woodmont CC in Rockville, Md. for Sectional qualifying on June 7.

  Monday marked Rusk’s first competitive tournament since the second stage of PGA Tour Q School last year. He also broke his hand this past March. Still, Rusk, of Washington Crossing, Pa., felt disappointed with his performance.

  “I played horrible on the front. I’m not happy. I got off to a bad start,” Rusk said. “It’s a good golf course. You need to make a lot of birdies out there.”

  Rusk’s “bad start” featured a double bogey on No. 9 (par 3, 173 yards). He smoked his 6-iron over the green and failed to get up-and-down for par. However, on the previous hole, Rusk fired a birdie after his approach 9-iron traveled 150 yards and landed just shy of the flagstick. He experienced a similar scenario on No. 12 (par 5, 516 yards); this time, Rusk, 31, struck his 9-iron 140 yards onto the front of the green, chipped up and cleaned up the birdie putt. He then drained a downhill 25-footer on No. 13 (par 3, 191 yards) thanks to a solid 6-iron off the tee. Rusk carded his final birdie of the day on No. 16 (par 3, 168 yards) after his 8-iron landed five-feet short of the cup.

  Rusk has advanced to Sectionals four times, with 2008 being his most recent trip. He will now travel to Columbus, Ohio for Sectionals.

  Michael Ladden, the Director of Golf at Whitford CC, secured the fifth and final spot by surviving a six-man, sudden-death playoff. After he and Steve Scott of New Hope, Pa. exchanged birdies and bogeys on Nos. 1 and 8, respectively, Ladden, of Exton, Pa., stuck his 7-iron to within 30-feet of the flagstick on No. 9 (par 3, 173 yards). Meanwhile, Scott, head professional at The Ridge at Back Brook, drilled his tee shot short of the green, then skulled his wedge into the rear rough. Scott hit his next wedge past the flagstick and conceded Ladden’s par. This will mark Ladden’s first Sectionals appearance. He attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open last year, but failed to advance past the local stage.

Name City Scores
William Mullen – P Jeffersonville, PA 69
Amory Davis Chadds Ford, PA 69
Jon Rusk – P Washington Cr, PA 69
Ben Kohles Cary, NC 69
#Michael Ladden – P Exton, PA 70
Alternates (in order)
#Steve Scott – P New Hope, PA 70
#Rich Thon Swarthmore, PA 70
Failed to qualify
#Stephen Seiden Chadds Ford, PA 70
#John Allen – P Media, PA 70
#Michael Little – P North Wales, PA 70
Adam Condello – P West Chester, PA 71
Chris Gallagher – P West Chester, PA 71
Steve Cutler – P Kennett Square, PA 72
David West Downingtown, PA 72
Jeffrey Osberg West Chester, PA 72
Andrew Lawson West Chester, PA 72
James Braunsberg Plymouth Meeting, PA 72
Daniel Charen Langhorne, PA 72
Zachary Falone Mickleton, NJ 73
Greg Matthias Wilmington, DE 73
David McNabb – P Newark, DE 73
Michael Kania Haverford, PA 73
Robin McCool Bethlehem, PA 73
David Taraschi – P Haddonfield, NJ 73
Dwight D’Iorio Long Valley, NJ 73
Michael Brown Jr Cheltenham, PA 74
John DiMarco – P Mount Laurel, NJ 74
Justin Martinson Avondale, PA 74
Kevin Melrath – P Ambler, PA 75
Rick Flesher – P Bethlehem, PA 75
Bill Jeremiah West Grove, PA 75
Michael Quinn East Fallowfield, PA 75
Brian Gillespie Wayne, PA 76
Cory Siegfried Villanova, PA 76
Justin Riegel – P Wilmington, DE 76
Mike Paukovits – P Royersford, PA 76
John Murphy, II Cape May Court House, NJ 77
Christopher Binder Berlin, NJ 77
Benjamin Cooley Rydal, PA 77
Robert Bishop Coatesville, PA 78
James Kenneff – P Seaville, NJ 78
Tommy Donovan – P Wayne, PA 78
Robert Mauer – P Warrington, PA 78
Dustin McCormick – P East Stroudsburg, PA 79
Andrew Kennedy – P Wayne, PA 79
Andy Dietz Marlton, NJ 79
Bertus Wessels – P Philadelphia, PA 79
Stephen Arnold – P Langhorne, PA 79
Michael Meiswich Wilmington, DE 80
Leo Nebbia – P Yardville, NJ 80
Gregg Russell – P Avondale, PA 80
Ryan Blair Center Valley, PA 80
Jeffrey Griest Glen Mills, PA 80
Brian Gardner – P Chester Springs, PA 80
Kevin Genuardi Lower Gwynedd, PA 80
Billy Dickinson – P Haines City, FL 81
Ryan Felpel Lancaster, PA 81
Dave Fardon Center Valley, PA 81
Christopher Smith – P Sunbury, PA 81
Patrick Dougherty North Wales, PA 81
Jeff Bygrave – P West Chester, PA 81
Scott Harrington Emmaus, PA 82
David M. Elliott – P Doylestown, PA 82
Benjamin Carr Aston, PA 82
John Burke, III – P Hockessin, DE 83
Alexander McPherson Oreland, PA 83
Philip Rosenbaum – P Towson, MD 84
Tyler Scarborough Newark, DE 84
Marc Ross – P Philadelphia, PA 84
Patrick Keefe – P Newark, DE 85
Anthony Alvernes Westfield, NJ 86
Luke Desimone Garnet Valley, PA 86
James Wolfe Pottstown, PA 86
Richard Williams – P Sellersville, PA 87
Bryan Petrone – P Princeton, NJ 87
Ross Haseley – P Alexandria, VA 87
Robert Pina Wayne, PA 90
Christopher Bigelow – P Hockessin, DE 91
Muhammad Aqeel – P Radnor, PA 91
Jose Rovelli Media, PA WD
William Kennedy – P Blackwood, NJ WD
Ken Sands – P Shenandoah, PA NC
Arthur Kania Haverford, PA WD
# – determined in playoff
P – professional; NC – no card; WD – withdrawal

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