Foley, Jones fire 3-under 69s, share medal in #USOpen Qualifier at Medford Village
MEDFORD, N.J. – Kevin Foley and Brett Jones have both graced golf’s biggest stages. The former has competed in a U.S. Open, while the latter has teed it up in a PGA Championship.
The two professionals used that experience to emerge Thursday not only with qualifying tickets, but also medalist honors. Their respective 3-under rounds of 69 at Medford Village Country Club (par 72, 7,100 yards) were red enough to earn shares of the top spot in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier.
Also punching a ticket was professional David Sanders (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), a Laurel Creek Country Club member, and amateur Ron Robinson (Hatfield, Pa.), a Commonwealth National Golf Club member and former GAP Junior champion.
In a 3-for-2 alternate position playoff, the first spot was claimed by The ACE Club pro Billy Stewart (2018 GAP Open Champion) followed by pro Louis Kelly, a Philmont Country Club member.
The 73-player field’s cut line stopped at 1-under 71 on the day. The 119th U.S. Open will take place June 10-16 at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.
Foley, 31, of Somerville, N.J., utilized a scorching hot flatstick on the back nine to earn his ride on #TheRoadtoPebbleBeach.
Things got going for Foley on Medford’s second half when he dropped a 10-footer for 3 on No. 13 (par 4, 400 yards). Then the birdie bombs surfaced. A 30-footer on No. 14 (par 5, 517 yards) dropped, a 45-foot make was good on No. 16 (par 3, 210 yards), and finally, a 30-footer was drained on No. 17 (par 4, 393 yards).
“I made a couple nice putts today for sure. I made the switch back to a longer putter, and it really caught fire today,” said Foley. “This putter, for some reason, just feels right for me. I put some time into practicing with it yesterday and it paid off today.”
The former Penn State University player (2006-2010) competed in the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, missing the cut after a strong performance on the first day. His resume also includes a Web.Com Tour victory in 2013 before gaining full PGA TOUR status during the 2014 season.
“After playing that season on the PGA TOUR, I had a knee surgery that set my game back a bit. It was a grind, but getting to play in the 2016 Open was incredible,” he said. “Ever since then, I’ve been hopping around spots, but it feels good knowing I could put up a low number in my first competitive event of the season.”
Jones, 43, of Basking Ridge, N.J., submitted a clean scorecard, including zero bogey blemishes on the day. Three birdies fell for the Australian native on Nos. 5 (par 5, 530 yards), 14 and 16.
“I’ve never played here before, but obviously with that in mind and in these conditions, it was a nice round,” said Jones, who competed in the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
Jones, whose brother Matt is a regular on the PGA TOUR, moved to the United States 18 years ago in hopes of a golf career, which he’s held on to ever since. He’s a frequent player in the PGA Professional Championship, including appearances in the last eight of 10.
“I’ve been to [U.S. Open] Sectionals a number of times, but have never gotten through,” he said. “I plan on playing in the Sectional in New York [Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club], so we’ll see how the game is up there.”
Sitting just one back of the medalists was Sanders, a professional with roots to the GAP region. With four birdies on his card, Sanders is now set for his ninth Sectional qualifying appearance in 16 tries.
“This is probably the sixth or seventh straight year that I’ve gotten through to Sectionals, so I feel like I have the mindset for it,” said Sanders, set to compete on the PGA TOUR Canada’s Mackenzie Tour in a few weeks. “Today was no different. I knew this is a course where you can’t miss fairways, or you’d put yourself in major trouble. I was able to make some birdies that helped, especially on the back nine.”
Robinson, a two-time Harry Hammond Award winner (2016-17), secured the fourth and final spot on the day. His 1-under 71 was fueled by three red numbers, including a clutch chip-in on the difficult No. 11 (par 3, 232 yards).
“The first thing I looked at this year was the U.S. Open Qualifiers and figured out where I wanted to play. It’s a pretty big deal, getting through to Sectionals. It’s the biggest stage, the U.S. Open,” said Robinson, 20, of Hatfield Pa.
The Monmouth University junior, decked out today in Tiger Woods’ newest apparel, has been close to Sectionals before. This time around, he “made the up-and-down pars that ended up being the difference.”
“It was a good college season for me with a lot of consistency, shooting between 72 and 75 mostly,” he said. “But today… this round was big for me.”
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)|
|Kevin Foley, Somerville, N.J.||69|
|Brett Jones, Basking Ridge, N.J.||69|
|David Sanders, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.||70|
|(a) Ronald Robinson, Hatfield, Pa.||71|
|Alternates (in order)|
|*Billy Stewart, Devon, Pa.||72|
|*Louis Kelly, Sewell, N.J.||72|
|Failed to qualify|
|*Brian Gaffney, Essex Fells, N.J.||72|
|(a) Zach Arsenault, Camden, N.J.||73|
|(a) Thomas Guy, Holmdel, N.J.||73|
|(a) Troy Vannucci, Marlton, N.J.||73|
|(a) Joshua Goldenberg, Scarsdale, NY||74|
|Marc Issler, Jupiter, Fla.||75|
|(a) Blaine Lafferty, Marlton, N.J.||75|
|James McGovern, Haworth, N.J.||75|
|Ryan Snouffer, Sparta, N.J.||75|
|(a) Will Davenport, Palm City, Fla.||76|
|Braden Shattuck, Aston, Pa.||76|
|Andy Brock, Bernardsville, N.J.||77|
|Zachary Oakley, Lewes, Del.||77|
|(a) Vincent Palazzolo, Colts Neck, N.J.||77|
|Bertus Wessels, Erdenheim, Pa.||77|
|(a) Zachary Falone, Mickleton, N.J.||78|
|Christopher Hoyle, Drexel Hill, Pa.||78|
|Patrick Keenan, Deal, N.J.||78|
|David Pa.gett, Oreland, Pa.||78|
|(a) Brandon Valvano, Franklin Lakes, N.J.||78|
|(a) Dawson Anders, Telford, Pa.||79|
|Brice Busse, Rockville, Md.||79|
|(a) Ryan Cass, Lawnside, N.J.||79|
|Thomas Hughes, Delran, N.J.||79|
|(a) Frank Kohute, Newfield, N.J.||79|
|(a) Michael Korcuba, Sicklerville, N.J.||79|
|(a) Drew Mullen, Pawleys Island, S.C.||79|
|Mark Parson, Northfield, N.J.||79|
|Grant Sturgeon, Wyckoff, N.J.||79|
|(a) Robert Weise, Freehold, N.J.||79|
|(a) Peter Barron, III, Mays Landing, N.J.||80|
|Jason Calhoun, Narberth, Pa.||80|
|(a) Brett Cybulski, Medford, N.J.||80|
|Vincent Kabaso, Browns Mills, N.J.||80|
|Greg Matthias, Cherry Hill, N.J.||80|
|(a) Adam Mistretta, Easton, Pa.||80|
|Andrew Pierson, Camden, N.J.||80|
|(a) Kyle Quagliero, Southampton, N.J.||80|
|(a) Dan Simonsen, Conshohocken, Pa.||80|
|(a) Jonathan Brain, San Fransisco, Calif.||81|
|Doug Delaney, Swainton, N.J.||81|
|(a) Brent Fredericksen, Staten Island, N.Y.||81|
|(a) Andrue Nicholas, Egg Harbor Township, N.J.||81|
|(a) Andy Stock, Danbury, Ct.||81|
|(a) Erik Brubaker, Delmar, Md.||82|
|Joe Orsino, Bensalem, Pa.||82|
|Vince Ramagli, Iselin, N.J.||82|
|Aaron Asedo, Jersey City, N.J.||83|
|Fred Blumenstock, Hillsborough, N.J.||83|
|Scott Chisholm, Philadelphia, Pa.||83|
|(a) Paul Giovannoli, Mt. Arlington, N.J.||83|
|Randolph Schafer, Boca Raton, Fla.||84|
|Michael Mrugal, Rockaway, N.J.||85|
|(a) Kevin Rakowski, Whippany, N.J.||85|
|(a) Rick Rychecky, Flemington, N.J.||85|
|(a) Kevin Sarlo, Burlington, N.J.||85|
|Christopher Staples, Fort Dix, N.J.||85|
|(a) Lodie Van Tonder, Pennsville, N.J.||85|
|T. Jay Fairlie, Broomall, Pa.||86|
|(a) Carter Nunez, South Orange, N.J.||86|
|Eric Figueroa, Chadds Ford, Pa.||87|
|(a) Casey Lyons, Fort Myers, Fla.||87|
|(a) Robert Brusco, Shamong, N.J.||88|
|(a) Andrew Jacobs, Shamong, N.J.||89|
|(a) Alex Mayernik, Columbus, N.J.||91|
|(a) Kenneth Taras, Moorestown, N.J.||WD|
|Frank Esposito, Florham Park, N.J.||WD|
|James MacFarlane, Collingswood, N.J.||WD|
|(a) Robert McHugh, Wayne, N.J.||NS|
|(a) Michael Muehr, McLean, Va.||NS|
|* — determined in playoff|
|(a) — amateur|
|WD – withdrawal; NS – no show|