YORK, Pa. — Four players battled petulant rain and challenging conditions en route to medalist honors in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia at Country Club of York (par 70, 6,664 yards) Thursday.
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Professionals Vince Covello, Hugo Leon and Nick Tremps, along with rising amateur and home-club hopeful Joe Parrini, all carded 1-under-par 69s to share the top spot. Spring Mill Country Club’s Christopher Crawford, an amateur in the U.S. Open field a year ago at Oakmont Country Club, grabbed the final qualifying spot in a sudden-death playoff.
The 117th U.S. Open will take place June 12-18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisc.
Fairways became a premium on the Donald Ross design. Steady rain saturated York’s notorious sidehills. Parrini, followed by a sizable gallery of supporters, used the course knowledge card to his advantage.
“It helped knowing some areas to miss and how the holes kind of play. This course is pretty straightforward,” Parrini, 17, of York, Pa., said. “I was playing pretty solid throughout the whole day. It’s hard to make birdies in these conditions.”
It’s a pair of birdies coming in that allowed Parrini, a junior at Central York High School, to share the top spot. On No. 11 (par 4, 422 yards), he hit a 9-iron 135 yards to the green’s center and drained a downhill, right-to-left breaking 25-footer. He pummeled a 5-iron 230 yards into the right greenside bunker on the par 5, 525-yard 14th hole. Parrini then splashed out to five feet and cleaned up the birdie putt.
The University of Arizona commit isn’t sure where he’s headed for Sectional qualifying. The decision to audition Thursday was a no-brainer in the first place.
“It was a good chance to get another tournament round under my belt,” Parrini, who won the club championship at York in 2014, said. “[An event being at your home course is never a bad thing, either. I got to sleep in my own bed.”
Good friends of nearly a decade, Covello and Leon carpooled to the Country Club of York. Leon is spending the week with Covello, who’s visiting his family in the Philadelphia region. Covello convinced Leon to join the homecoming this year, which included a U.S. Open qualifying stop in addition to a Phillies game and a Philadelphia Museum of Art trip. Leon happily obliged.
“We’ve done as much as we can so far. It’s so good to hang out with my buddy,” Leon, 32, who hails from Santiago, Chile and resides in Jupiter, Fla., said. “We’ve talked a lot about everything that’s going on in life. We’re hanging out together the whole week.”
“It’s always a treat coming home to Philly, grabbing a couple of cheesesteaks and catching a Phillies game,” Covello, 34, of Ponte Vedra, Fla., said. “I’m showing Hugo the city a little bit.”
Covello, who gained status on the Web.com Tour this year, started birdie-birdie Thursday to embark on his medalist expedition. His 9-iron — unsheathed with distances of 128 and 136 yards on Nos. 1 (par 4, 425 yards) and 2 (par 5, 526 yards), respectively — set up putts of five and four feet. A failed escape from the fairway bunker on No. 4 (par 4, 401 yards), and a crooked drive on No. 8 (par 4, 443 yards) contributed to his only outward bogeys. Covello birdied No. 14 to finish in red figures. He stopped a wedge from 82 yards at six inches.
Covello will make his sixth trip to U.S. Open Sectional qualifying. He selected Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. as his site. Until then, Covello will continue to stake his place on the Web.com Tour circuit.
“I’m super thrilled to be out there. I got off to a good start this year, which has locked me up for the whole year,” Covello said. “I’ve recently been going through some driving issues and have missed the last six cuts in a row. It’s a little up and down. You go through streaks in golf. You keep trying your hardest. My attitude’s been good the whole time.”
Leon, who played on the Web.com Tour in 2010 and 2014-15, currently competes on PGA TOUR Canada. Stationed two groups behind Covello Thursday, he inked a 32 coming in to join his friend on the medalist platform. On No. 12 (par 3, 204 yards), he landed a pure 5-iron eight feet above the hole location and executed the birdie putt. A two-putt from 20 feet for a 4 on No. 14 came following a low 5-iron from 214 yards. Facing a tucked, back-right hole location guarded by a bunker on No. 16 (par 4, 408 yards), Leon watched his 8-iron from 142 yards touch down flag-high, only to peel down the slope. He then converted a chugging 45-footer from the bottom tier.
Leon competed in the 2010 U.S. Open at Peeble Beach, where he failed to make the cut. He heads to Sectional qualifying for the third time in his career.
“I grinded out a playoff for second alternate, which at the time I thought was no good,” Leon said of 2010. “I got the call the Sunday before the Sectional qualifier to see if I could make it up to Columbus, and I went straight from the golf course to the airport and bought a ticket there,” Leon said. “I got up there and shot 9 under to get into the U.S. Open, playing it blind. You always have one of those stories. I feel giddy about that one all of the time.”
Tremps, a professional on the SwingThought TOUR, returns to Sectional qualifying for the second straight year. He capped a bogey-free outward trek with a birdie on the par 4, 479-yard No. 9. Tremps drilled a 7-iron 169 yards to 12 feet below the flagstick.
“Fairways and greens were key for me today,” Tremps, 23, of Williamsburg, Va., said. “I knew the scores were going to be higher today because of the weather. Par wasn’t a bad score. I loved the golf course. it suits up nice for my game. It’s just in great shape. The design of the holes makes you hit different shots.”
Crawford, the 2015 Joseph H. Patterson Cup Champion, made U.S. Open headlines in 2016 when he converted a 40-footer for birdie on his final hole in Sectional qualifying at Canoe Brook Country Club to advance. He moved one step closer to a return to the Championship proper, again on the wings of last-minute drama. Crawford, an accounting major at Drexel University in his final year of a five-year program, bested professional Mark Kriston, Jr. of Winston-Salem, N.C. on the second playoff hole. He hit a pitching wedge 136 yards to 25 feet and safely two-putted after Kriston failed to save par from the left rough.
“It’s a great golf course. It played pretty hard,” Crawford, 23, of Bensalem, Pa., said. “I knew something around even par would be OK. I grinded. I feel good to hopefully be back at Canoe Brook.”
The Golf Association of Philadelphia will administer a second U.S. Open Local Qualifier on Monday, May 15 at Running Deer Golf Club.
Golf Association of Philadelphia
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 153 Full Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, 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.
|Name, City, State||Score|
|Vince Covello, Philadelphia, Pa.||69|
|Hugo Leon, Santiago, Chile||69|
|(a) Joe Parrini, York, Pa.||69|
|Nick Tremps, Williamsburg, Va.||69|
|(a) Christopher Crawford, Bensalem, Pa.||70|
|Alternates (in order)|
|Mark Kriston, Jr., Clemmons, N.C.||70|
|(a) Jarred Texter, Millersville, Pa.||71|
|Failed to qualify|
|Eric Beringer, Boca Raton, Fla.||71|
|Christopher Wisler, West Chester, Pa.||71|
|(a) Connor Flach, Ellicott City, Md.||71|
|Brett Melton, Philadelphia, Pa.||72|
|(a) Paul Acierno, Flourtown, Pa.||72|
|(a) Michael Davis, Philadelphia, Pa.||72|
|Michael Tobiason, Jr., Wilmington, Del.||72|
|(a) Erick Alonso, Hawthorn, N.J.||72|
|David Denlinger, Lancaster, Pa.||73|
|(a) Cole Miller, New Tripoli, Pa.||73|
|(a) Owen Quinn, Holden, Mass.||73|
|Jan Steyn, Conshohocken, Pa.||74|
|(a) Stuart Fuller, Chapel Hill, N.C.||74|
|(a) Andrew Rice, Baltimore, Md.||74|
|David Harget, Baltimore, Md.||74|
|(a) Gary Carpenter, Jr., Crofton, Md.||74|
|(a) Stephen Colodny, Westport, Conn.||74|
|(a) Alex Golland, Wynnewood, Pa.||74|
|(a) Matthew Kreider, Lititz, Pa.||75|
|(a) Max Siegfried, Villanova, Pa.||75|
|(a) Caleb Bryant, New Freedom, Pa.||75|
|Chris Gray, Middletown, Del.||75|
|(a) Jonathan Meissner, San Antonio, Texas||75|
|(a) Danny Harcourt, Fanwood, N.J.||75|
|(a) Steven Kluemper, Bethlehem, Pa.||75|
|(a) Dawson Anders, Telford, Pa.||75|
|Rusty Harbold, Abington, Pa.||75|
|(a) Brendan Peel, Potomac, Md.||76|
|Carson Solien, West Chester, Pa.||76|
|(a) Andreas Aivazoglou, Glen Mills, Pa.||76|
|Justin Meyers, Downingtown, Pa.||76|
|Matt Summers, Abingdon, Md.||76|
|(a) Nicholas Infanti, Annapolis, Md.||76|
|(a) Parker Wine, West Chester, Pa.||76|
|(a) Gus Minkin, York, Pa.||77|
|(a) Blaine Lafferty, Marlton, N.J.||77|
|(a) Rodney Anders, Telford, Pa.||77|
|T. Jay Fairlie, Broomall, Pa.||77|
|Zachary Lese, Silver Spring, Md.||78|
|(a) Andrew Bowyer, Summit, N.J.||78|
|Cole Willcox, Malvern, Pa.||78|
|Jake Reed, Davenport, Fla.||78|
|(a) Blake Sebring, York, Pa.||79|
|(a) Adam Sutovich, Breinigsville, Pa.||79|
|Mike Furey, Summit Hill, Pa.||79|
|(a) York Beights, Afton, Va.||79|
|James Schouller, Greencastle, Del.||79|
|Eric Figueroa, Kennett Square, Pa.||79|
|Jonathan Burns, Hatfield, Pa.||80|
|(a) John Dimler, Camp Hill, Pa.||80|
|(a) Nikita Romanov, Wilmington, Del.||80|
|James Braunsberg, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.||80|
|(a) Andrew Forjan, York, Pa.||80|
|(a) William Howard, V, West Chester, Pa.||80|
|(a) Tyler Newton, Bel Air, Md.||80|
|(a) Scott McKean, Chester Springs, Pa.||81|
|(a) Joseph Myers, Haverford, Pa.||81|
|Rob Coyne, West Chester, Pa.||81|
|(a) Roland Beights, Afton, Va.||81|
|Tyler Mersinger, Reading, Pa.||82|
|Matthew Yorgey, Douglassville, Pa.||82|
|(a) Evan Brown, Kennett Square, Pa.||82|
|(a) Matthew Davis, Newtown Square, Pa.||83|
|(a) Andrew Wallace, Narberth, Pa.||83|
|Dustin Wallis, Noble, Okla.||83|
|(a) Clay Anders, Telford, Pa.||83|
|(a) Andrew Barbin, Jr. , Elkton, Md.||83|
|(a) Bill Long, Ahoskie, N.C.||83|
|(a) Eric Buckland, Middletown, Del.||83|
|(a) Connor Vanin, Coopersburg, Pa.||84|
|(a) Eamon Marone, Belvidere, N.J.||85|
|Brent Miller, Raleigh, N.C.||85|
|(a) Matthew Chalupa, Landenberg, Pa.||86|
|(a) Morgan Uhlick, Spotsylvania, Va.||86|
|Charles Woodward, Smithsburg, Md.||89|
|(a) Tristan Updegraff, Mohnton, Pa.||90|
|(a) Matt Rundle, East Berlin, Pa.||91|
|(a) Matthew Mancini, Douglassville, Pa.||WD|
|(a) Jay Whitby, Wyoming, Del.||WD|
|(a) Tyler Smith, Bath, Pa.||WD|
|Nelson Hargrove, Haverford, Pa.||WD|
|Steve Barcoski, Boyertown, Pa.||WD|
|(a) Paul Friedman, Willow Grove, Pa.||WD|
|(a) Keegan Shreves, Potomac, Md.||WD|