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#USOpen Qualifier: Scranton

Crawford claws to top of U.S. Open Qualifier

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CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. — Two days and plenty of clothing layers later, a U.S. Open Local Qualifier administered by GAP at Country Club of Scranton (par 70, 6,672 yards) is in the books. Five competitors weathered trying conditions — relentless rainfall and temperatures in the 40s — to advance.

Christopher Crawford, a former Joseph H. Patterson Cup Champion (2015), carded a 1-over-par 71 to earn medalist honors. Fellow former GAP regulars and current touring professionals Patrick Ross and Anthony Sebastianelli, along with amateur Patrick Forbes of Toronto, Ontario also qualified in regulation. Professional William Evan Thornton, a former LedgeRock Golf Club member and Berks County Amateur Champion, emerged from a three-for-one playoff to round out the group of saturated survivors.

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

Crawford, a Drexel University alum who turned professional in 2017, isn’t a stranger to the U.S. Open, having competed in consecutive years (2016-17) amid much GAP fanfare. He knew the tools necessary to take a step closer to a third appearance.

“It’s a mindset you have to have going in. You know it’s going to be really hard,” Crawford, 25, of Bensalem, Pa., said. “Everyone is dealing with it. Some weird stuff is probably going to happen. You’re not going to have total control of your golf ball. You accept it and just hang in there as long as possible.”

Crawford stuck around at 3 over through 10 holes of play Monday. A poor tee shot on No. 5 (par 4, 424 yards) put his golf ball behind a tree and a bogey on the scorecard. Missed greens on a pair of par 3s (Nos. 6, 132 yards and 10, 225 yards) caused Crawford to feel on the outside looking in. Officials suspended play Monday at 12:16 p.m. once he arrived at the 11th tee.

“I knew that I needed two birdies on the last eight holes, so I actually played pretty well today. It’s not easy,” Crawford said. “I was trying to stay in there and fight. I thought I needed a couple of birdies today to have a chance.”

A couple he snagged. On the downhill par 4, 406-yard 14th hole, Crawford knocked a gap wedge 134 yards to a “dangerous” back hole location and buried a 10-footer for birdie. He kicked in on No. 18 (par 5, 583 yards) following a solid wedge from 95 yards. A positive first impression during the 2015 Pennsylvania Golf Association Amateur Championship prompted a Scranton return for Crawford.

“I love the golf course. It’s awesome,” he said. “The greens are really tough and complex. It’s a good test.”

A summer of state opens, sprinkle in a Monday qualifier or two, awaits Crawford. He will head to Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club in Purchase, N.Y. for Sectional qualifying on June 3.

Ross, who worked at Mizner Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla. during the winter, returned to his roots for U.S. Open qualifying. His lone Sectional appearance came a year ago thanks to co-medalist honors in a Local Qualifier administered by GAP at Glenmaura National Golf Club.

“I’ve played [Country Club of Scranton] a ton of times. Course experience helps here more than anywhere,” Ross, 27, of Dunmore, Pa., said. “If you’re in the wrong spot on these greens, and you don’t know where to go, then you’re done. If you don’t play a practice round here, you’re done.”

Ross registered 13 greens in regulation to make his U.S. Open qualifying venture far from done. He closed with six straight pars Tuesday to hold steady at 2-over-par 72.

“I just kept the ball in front of me. I didn’t really stress for bogey,” Ross, the 2016 BMW Philadelphia Amateur medalist, said. “I tried to hit as many greens as possible and make pars. It’s hard to hit golf shots out there. The ground is so saturated. It’s tough to control your golf ball.”

Ross, who competed in West Florida Golf Tour and Coastal Players Tour events during the winter, will head to Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. for Sectional qualifying.

Scranton represented Sebastianelli’s first event as a professional. It began with an unfortunate triple bogey on No. 1 (par 4, 339 yards), where he took an unplayable lie and then three-putted.

“My first hole as a professional, and on my 24th birthday I make triple,” Sebastianelli, of Clarks Summit, Pa., said. “My dad texted me and said, ‘It can only go up from there.’ I’m just very pleased with my effort. We battled all day, the conditions and the golf course. It’s very satisfying. I’m just really happy. It’s a big step in the right direction for me.”

Sebastianelli, who holds conditional status on the Mackenzie Tour — PGA TOUR Canada, finished at 3-over-par 73.

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)
Christopher Crawford, Bensalem, Pa.71
Patrick Ross, Dunmore, Pa.72
(a) Patrick Forbes, Toronto, Ontario73
Anthony Sebastianelli, Clarks Summit, Pa.73
*William Evan Thornton, Delray Beach, Fla.74
Alternates (in order)
*Brett Cairns, Courtland, Ontario74
*(a) Tyler McGarry, Pittston, Pa.74
Failed to qualify
(a) William Pabst, Jr., Roaring Brook Twp, Pa.75
Kyle Wambold, Macungie, Pa.75
Sean Bozuk, Burlington, Ontario76
(a) Adam Condello, Fairport, N.Y.76
Austin James, Bath, Ontario76
Chris Miller, Clarks Summit, Pa.76
(a) David Powers, Glen Spey, N.Y.76
(a) Josh Whalen, Napanee, Ontario76
(a) Carlos Fullerton, Emmaus, Pa.77
Josh Holling, Horseheads, N.Y.77
(a) Troy Kelleher, Clarks Summit, Pa.77
Zachary Lese, Silver Spring, Md.77
Danny Lewis, Morrow, OH77
(a) Sean Madden, Old Forge, Pa.77
Jordan Meltzer, Los Angeles, CA77
Michael Molino, Dallas, Pa.77
(a) William O’Neill, Morristown, N.J.77
(a) Kevin Rossi, Scranton, Pa.77
Sameer Kalia, Campbellville, Ontario78
(a) William Mirams, Stroudsburg, Pa.78
(a) Logan Paczewski, Dallas, Pa.78
(a) Eric Williams, Honesdale, Pa.78
(a) Jason Wilson, Orefield, Pa.78
Mike Furey, Summit Hill, Pa.79
Grant Gulick, Vestal, N.Y.79
John Pillar, Hawley, Pa.79
Sean Carlino, Hamilton, Ontario80
(a) Nathan Chuwait, Herndon, Va.80
(a) Cody Cox, Milford, Pa.80
(a) Gus Steiger, Milford, Pa.80
Luke Lanzetta-Vargo, Chadds Ford, Pa.81
(a) Corey Palma, Old Forge, Pa.81
Nicholas Biondi, Moosic, Pa.82
(a) Sean Pass, Ithaca, N.Y.83
Andrew Bostrom, North Caldwell, N.J.84
(a) Tyler Brewington, Oceanport, N.J.84
(a) Logan Carter, Montclair, N.J.85
(a) Andrew Osofsky, New York, N.Y.85
Brett Wagner, Cresco, Pa.85
(a) J.T. Barker, Bethlehem, Pa.86
(a) Jonathan Wilson, Dallas, Pa.87
(a) Gregory Deluca, Langhorne, Pa.NS
Tyler Hall, Wayne, N.J.NS
Russell Harbold, Abington, Pa.WD
Jason Hartline, Easton, Pa.WD
(a) David Horn, Coudersport, Pa.WD
Theo Humphrey, Tequesta, Del.WD
Eric Keeler, King Of Prussia, Pa.WD
(a) Andrew Kotler, Skillman, N.J.WD
Matthew Long, Wallkill, N.Y.WD
Nicholas Marzo, Coudersport, Pa.WD
Brandon Matthews, Tequesta, Fla.WD
(a) David Mecca, Scranton, Pa.WD
(a) Mariano Medico, Shavertown, Pa.WD
(a) Bobby Mort, Huntingdon, Pa.WD
David Reasoner, Paramus, N.J.WD
(a) Samuel C. Sikes, Richmond, Va.WD
(a) Ryan Skae, Old Tappan, N.J.WD
(a) Grant Skyllas, Wyomissing, Pa.WD
Jeff Snyder, Charlottesville, Va.WD
Ryan Spratt, Ottawa, OntarioWD
(a) John Updike, Wayne, Pa.WD
(a) Jeffrey Victor, Windermere, Fla.WD
David Denlinger, Lancaster, Pa.WD
Bryan Dougherty, Middletown, N.J.WD
Christopher Dymek, Brielle, N.J.WD
(a) Thomas Dzwonczyk, North Abington Township, Pa.WD
(a) Daniel Griffiths, Binghamton, N.Y.WD
Grant Griffiths, Conshohocken, Pa.WD
Matthew Baker, Orlando, Fla.WD
* — determined in playoff
NS — no show; WD — withdrawal