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U.S. Open Qual.: Makefield Highlands

Bent Creek’s Dornes tops U.S. Open Qualifier at Makefield

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YARDLEY, Pa. — Ryan Dornes, an amateur out of Bent Creek Country Club, birdied his final four holes en route to medalist honors in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier administered by GAP at Makefield Highlands Golf Club (par 71, 6,982 yards) Monday.

The former Penn State University golfer carded a 3-under-par 68 to earn one of five qualifying positions. Fellow amateurs Chris Ault of Lu Lu Country Club, Zachary Barbin of Loch Nairn Golf Club and Carey Bina of Radnor Valley Country Club also advanced in regulation. Manasquan River Golf Club’s Jeremy Wall, the reigning BMW Philadelphia Amateur Champion, converted a 55-footer for birdie on No. 1 (par 4, 456 yards), the first playoff hole, to emerge from a five-for-one sudden death session.

The 119th U.S. Open will take place June 10-16 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif. 

“I started off really well and kind of lost it in the middle of the round. My yardages were a little messed up. Not having a rangefinder when you’ve been using it for so long kind of gets to you,” Dornes, 22, of Lancaster, Pa., said. “But I had a great finish. I knew I could get some birdies coming in. I’m really happy with that.”

The USGA (United States Golf Association) prohibits the use of rangefinders in qualifying events for the U.S. Open. The accessory’s absence merely served as a brief detriment for Dornes.

The aforementioned streak started on No. 6 (par 4, 444 yards), where he hit a 7-iron 175 yards to 15 feet for birdie. He swept in a five-footer on No. 7 (par 5, 637 yards) following a crisp wedge from 100 yards. On the par 3, 190-yard No. 8, Dornes watched a solidly-struck 7-iron come to rest 30 feet above the flagstick. He buried the ensuing birdie putt. Another slippery downhiller on the next hole (par 5, 512 yards) — this time from 35 feet — capped his fantastic finish.

“I knew I was hitting it well all day, and the putter felt good. I just missed a few yardages and tried to tighten those up,” Dornes said. “I made three bogeys in the middle of the round. I was mostly coming up short a majority of the day. I just started hitting yardages, and it all started to flow.”

Dornes, a commercial business major who plans to complete remaining academic credits this summer, will head to Sectional qualifying June 3 at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. The months ahead involve competitive golf along with a career hunt.

“I’m trying to keep low expectations. I know I have a lot of work ahead of me,” Dornes said. “If I keep improving every day and see where that takes me, then I think I can reach a new level for my game.”

Bina, who carded a 1-under-par 70, aspires to elevate his game to the next level entirely. Monday reassured his direction.

“This is likely to be my last summer as an amateur. I’m almost 90 percent clear that I will be turning professional in the fall,” Bina, 23, of Villanova, Pa., said. “I haven’t played in the U.S. Amateur. Golf, for me, is not about money, or even a career. I just know that I’ve chosen a career because I want to play golf. There are certain events that, once I turn professional, I won’t be able to play in.

“I also have to keep my bigger goals in mind and not get stuck. I want to be the best golfer that I know I can be. I don’t really compare myself to other people because it’s intrinsic for me. Through that, I think I’ll be able to inspire other people.”

For his part, Bina certainly seemed inspired at Makefield. Six front-nine birdies suggest so: a 7-iron 184 yards to 12 feet on No. 1; a 54-degree wedge 116 yards to five feet on No. 4 (par 4, 337 yards); a 58-degree wedge 100 yards to four feet on No. 5 (par 4, 329 yards); a 6-iron 196 yards to 20 feet on No. 6; a 9-iron 160 yards to 22 feet on No. 7 and a cautious 15-footer on No. 9.

“It was an interesting day,” Bina, who caddies at Philadelphia Cricket Club, said. “I can’t be mad. I can always take away something. I was really happy with how I played on the front nine. I got very clear, after [a double bogey on the third hole], where I wanted to leave myself when I’m putting. I made a conscious effort. I started putting myself in spots where I wanted to be. And I was just making putts.”

Bina previously advanced to Sectional qualifying in 2017.

A singular hole at Makefield Highlands served as a wake-up call for Ault and Barbin, respectively. The former made a triple bogey on No. 6 after launching a drive out-of-bounds. A chat with wife and caddie Lindsay calmed a brewing mental storm.

“She told me to stop crying. I wasn’t actually crying, but I was pretty pissed off,” Ault, 32, of Yardley, Pa., said. “She said, ‘Get it together. You’re fine.’ That kind of picked me back up.”

A personal pep-talk gave Barbin, a sophomore at Liberty University, the asperity needed to advance.

“I three-putted No. 5 [for bogey] and was like, ‘Dude, really?’ I fired myself up a little bit,” Barbin, 20, of Elkton, Md., said. “I was angry and I started playing how I felt I should’ve played.”

Barbin will join his brother Austin, who prevailed from a U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Hillendale Country Club a week ago, at Sectionals come June 3 at Woodmont.

Wall and his brother Ethan represented two of the five playoff participants for the final qualifying spot Monday. An improbable 55-footer, which navigated a significant slope before diving into the jar, sealed the former’s fate.

“I was joking with Ethan and said, ‘I have to get to a customer’s house to pick up a car. I need to make this fast,’” Wall, 23, of Brielle, N.J., said. “It’s pretty crazy. I’m still like, ‘Did that really go in?’” Wall works as a sales representative for his father’s car dealership.

GAP
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, 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 274 Full Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers (name, city, state, score)
(a) Ryan Dornes, Lancaster, Pa.68
(a) Carey Bina, Villanova, Pa.70
(a) Christopher Ault, Yardley, Pa.71
(a) Zachary Barbin, Elkton, Md.71
*(a) Jeremy Wall, Brielle, N.J.72
Alternates (in order)
*(a) Nathan Bazant, Lawrenceville, N.J.72
*Mark Miller, Philadelphia, Pa.72
Failed to qualify
* (a) Griffin Smith, Holland, Pa.72
*(a) Ethan Wall, Brielle, N.J.72
(a) Peter Bradbeer, Rosemont, Pa.73
(a) Lukas Clark, Holland, Pa.73
(a) Jeffrey Cunningham, Philadelphia, Pa.74
(a) Connor Daly, Bronxville, N.Y.74
(a) Nathan Fry, Coplay, Pa.74
(a) Vince Kwon, Marlton, N.J.74
(a) Joseph Morganti, Havertown, Pa.74
Justin Rasmus, Colonia, N.J.74
(a) John Samaha, Hatboro, Pa.74
(a) Calen Sanderson, Newtown, Pa.74
(a) Sean Seese, Rydal, Pa.74
(a) Patrick Sheehan, Doylestown, Pa.74
Austin Smith, Dallas, Pa.74
(a) Kyle Sterbinsky, Yardley, Pa.74
Sean Szerencsits, King Of Prussia, Pa.74
(a) Jared Tendler, Yardley, Pa.74
(a) Ryan Brown, Scranton, Pa.75
Brian Hollins, Medford, N.J.75
(a) Caleb Ryan, Norristown, Pa.75
(a) John Devereux, Brielle, N.J.76
(a) Luca Jezzeny, Furlong, Pa.76
(a) Andrew Wallace, Penn Valley, Pa.76
(a) Anthony Barr, Harleysville, Pa.77
(a) Brandon Capone, Columbus, N.J.77
(a) Stephen Cerbara, Langhorne, Pa.77
(a) Daniel Charen, Langhorne, Pa.77
Matt Cocco, Southampton, Pa.77
(a) Cole Ekert, Chatham, N.J.77
(a) Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.77
(a) Joshua Ryan, Norristown, Pa.77
(a) Conrad Von Borsig, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.77
(a) Ryan Barnett, Bryn Mawr, Pa.78
(a) Michael R. Brown, Jr., Maple Shade Township, N.J.78
Ross Brown, Kingston, Pa.78
(a) Jack Irons, Naples, Fla.78
(a) Jolo Timothy Magcalayo, Sta. Rosa78
(a) Alex Mulrooney, Wilmington, Del.78
J.T. Wambold, Hatboro, Pa.78
Rob Coyne, West Chester, Pa.79
(a) Kyle Deisher, Philadelphia, Pa.79
(a) Benjamin Feld, Gladwyne, Pa.79
Hank Kovalcik, Yardley, Pa.79
(a) Scott McLaughlin, Ambler, Pa.79
(a) Benjamin Pochet, Royersford, Pa.79
(a) Nikita Romanov, Wilmington, Del.79
(a) Oliver White, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.79
(a) Mark Costanza, Jersey City, N.J.80
(a) Max Rubin, Marlton, N.J.80
(a) Max Siegfried, Wayne, Pa.80
Steve Ashworth, Brookhaven, Pa.81
(a) Charlie Baker, Wayne, Pa.81
(a) Matthew Law, Yardley, Pa.81
(a) Timmy Lorenzo, Maple Glen, Pa.81
(a) Charlie Kovalcik, Yardley, Pa.82
Charles Kromann, Millstone Township, N.J.82
(a) Joseph Markmann, Doylestown, Pa.82
(a) Kyle Pritchard, Northampton, Pa.82
Jack Quilligan, Feltham, London82
(a) Thomas Butler, Telford, Pa.83
(a) Paul Elstone, Jr., Burlington, N.J.83
(a) Rob Kilbride, Manasquan, N.J.83
(a) Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.85
Kevin Reidinger, Hillsborough, N.J.85
(a) Phil Formica, Washington Crossing, Pa.86
(a) Jack Hamilton, Wayne, Pa.86
(a) Michael Lenartowicz, Easton, Pa.86
(a) Andrew Figiel, Townsend, Del.87
John Gakuo, Philadelphia, Pa.NC
(a) Christopher Reedman, Langhorne, Pa.WD
(a) Noam Roizman, Blue Bell, Pa.WD
* — determined in playoff
(a) — amateur
NC — no card; WD — withdrawal