TELFORD, Pa. — Indian Valley Country Club and Kyle Vance is a Hollywood marriage gone right.
Six years ago, he won the GAP Junior Boys’ Championship at the Telford, Pa. venue. Vance, an amateur out of Blue Bell Country Club, again shined at Indian Valley (par 71, 6,821 yards) Monday, carding a 4-under-par 67 to earn medalist honors in U.S. Open Local Qualifying administered by GAP.
Huntingdon Valley Country Club’s Conor McGrath, a rising senior at Temple University, also finished in red figures at 1-under-par 70. Amateur Tyler Sokolis of LuLu Country Club and professionals Joseph Gunerman of Dallas, Texas and David Sanders of Jupiter, Fla. survived a five-for-three playoff to also advance to Sectional Qualifying.
The 121st U.S. Open will take place June 17-20 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif.
Monday marked Vance’s first competitive foray at Indian Valley since his 2015 triumph.
“I came up for a practice round yesterday. There are a lot of false fronts I don’t remember. It was really scary hitting some of the shots,” Vance, 22, of Audubon, Pa., said. “I like this place. There are great people here. [Indian Valley member and former GAP Executive Committee member] (John) Choyka is always out here. He’s my good luck charm, I guess. I really enjoy this place. It’s a great layout in great condition all of the time.”
Vance’s game is clearly in great condition. Even swift winds, brisk temperatures and treacherous greens failed to spoil it.
“I had the flatstick going,” Vance, who will graduate from Kansas State University on May 16, said. “My numbers into the wind and downwind were all pretty solid. I was pin high most of the day. That really helped me.”
A bogey on No. 2 (par 4, 446 yards), as odd as it sounds, helped, too.
“It kind of pissed me off. I went on a birdie run after that,” Vance said.
Sure did. After sailing No. 3 (par 5, 521 yards) green with a 7-iron, Vance eased a chip to three feet and made 4. He knocked a 9-iron to three feet on No. 4 (par 3, 144 yards). Vance hit an 8-iron 155 yards to 15 feet on No. 5 (par 4, 429 yards), a 4-iron to four feet on No. 6 (par 3, 207 yards). His outward tour at Indian Valley ended in thrilling fashion. Vance left his wedge from 127 yards some 50 feet from a difficult back-left hole location.
“It was a dangerous putt because you didn’t want to go past the hole, given how fast these greens are. I know if I got it down the hill, it would get somewhere close to the hole,” Vance said. “I tried to lag it there. It was on a great line with great speed. It was good to see that go in. I said to myself, ‘Alright. We’ve got something going here.’”
Vance kept it going with a birdie on No. 13 (par 4, 421 yards), where he lifted a 50-degree wedge 118 yards to four feet. A bogey on No. 16 (par 3, 157 yards) merely presented a paradox of note. That’s where he secured the aforementioned Junior Boys’ title.
Vance will head to U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying June 7 at Woodmont Country Club (North Course) in Rockville, Md.
On the college golf front, Vance elected not to return to the Kansas State men’s golf team for the 2020-21 season. He competed in seven events as a freshman, two as a sophomore and five as a junior. Vance, a marketing major, returned home on April 1 to finish the semester online.
Less than an hour after his round Monday, Vance needed to take a final.
“I brought my laptop. Hopefully they have Wi-Fi,” he said.
A clean 33 (2 under) coming in allowed McGrath to crack the cutline. On No. 10 (par 4, 374 yards), his wedge from 112 yards “hung on the right edge of the cup.” McGrath tapped in for birdie. A near identical circumstance on No. 14 (par 4, 379 yards), where McGrath again nearly jarred a wedge from 85 yards.
“I was just looking to play smart golf and hit it where I needed to. I had a lot of stress-free pars, which are key in qualifiers,” McGrath, 21, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., said.
McGrath is fresh off his best collegiate campaign to date. He finished the season with a career-best 73.6 scoring average.
“It helped me a lot, this semester at Temple. We worked hard, and my coach, Brian Quinn, helped me a lot. We were able to find some stuff,” McGrath said. “I’m trying to let it carry over into summer golf.”
Like Vance, McGrath will head to Woodmont for Sectional Qualifying. It is his first time reaching that stage.
GAP will next conduct U.S. Open Local Qualifying on Wednesday, May 12 at Steel Club.
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 300 Member Clubs and 80,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
|Name, city, state||Score|
|(a) Kyle Vance, Audubon, Pa.||67|
|(a) Conor McGrath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||70|
|*Joseph Gunerman, Dallas, Texas||72|
|*David Sanders, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.||72|
|*(a) Tyler Sokolis, Doylestown, Pa.||72|
|Alternates (in order)|
|*Brandon Matthews, Tequesta, Fla.||72|
|*(a) Patrick Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||72|
|Failed to qualify|
|(a) Tyler Stahle, Philadelphia, Pa.||73|
|(a) Benjamin Feld, Gladwyne, Pa.||74|
|(a) Andrue Nicholas, Egg Harbor Township, N.J.||74|
|Thaddeus Obecny, II, Wheeling, West Va.||74|
|(a) Stephen Cerbara, Langhorne, Pa.||75|
|(a) Matt Dudas, Collegeville, Pa.||75|
|(a) Mark Miller, Philadelphia, Pa.||75|
|Ryan Rucinski, Wilmington, Del.||75|
|(a) Buddy Hansen, Blue Bell, Pa.||76|
|(a) Liam Hart, Holland, Pa.||76|
|Kyle Sterbinsky, Jupiter, Fla.||76|
|Andrew Turner, Honey Brook, Pa.||76|
|(a) Dawson Anders, Telford, Pa.||77|
|(a) Evan Barbin, Elkton, Maryland||77|
|(a) Michael R. Brown, Jr., Maple Shade Township, N.J.||77|
|(a) Carter Field, Fort Washington, Pa.||77|
|(a) Nikita Gubenko, Great Falls, Va.||77|
|(a) Conrad Von Borsig, Fort Washington, Pa.||77|
|(a) Oliver White, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.||77|
|Kyle Early, Collegeville, Pa.||78|
|Alexander Hicks, Cape May Court House, N.J.||78|
|(a) Griffin Mitchell, New Albany, Ohio||78|
|Joe Orsino, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||78|
|(a) Liam Powderly, Cockeysville, Md.||78|
|(a) Christopher Ault, Yardley, Pa.||79|
|(a) Zachary Falone, Mickleton, N.J.||79|
|Mike Furey, Summit Hill, Pa.||79|
|(a) David Hurly, Newtown Square, Pa.||79|
|(a) Brian Isztwan, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.||79|
|(a) Kevin Lydon, Doylestown, Pa.||79|
|(a) Vinay Ramesh, Newtown, Pa.||79|
|(a) Tyler Wingo, Philadelphia, Pa.||79|
|(a) Thomas Dzwonczyk, North Abington Twp, Pa.||80|
|Justin Elwell, Sewell, N.J.||80|
|(a) William Walde, Washington, D.C.||80|
|James Braunsberg, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.||81|
|(a) Nicola Cerilli, Doylestown, Pa.||81|
|(a) Joseph Morganti, Havertown, Pa.||81|
|Jan Steyn, King of Prussia, Pa.||81|
|(a) Gerald Haftmann, Springfield, Pa.||82|
|Christopher Hoyle, Drexel Hill, Pa.||82|
|Jeff Snyder, Charlottesville, Va.||82|
|(a) Tyler Zimmer, Bryn Mawr, Pa.||82|
|(a) Brandon Capone, Columbus, N.J.||83|
|(a) Andrew Curran, Media, Pa.||83|
|(a) James Gradisek, Wayne, Pa.||83|
|Ryan Kline, Kutztown, Pa.||83|
|(a) Chris Orlando, Broomall, Pa.||83|
|(a) Rodney Anders, Telford, Pa.||84|
|(a) Vince Kwon, Marlton, N.J.||84|
|(a) Stephen Butler, Telford, Pa.||85|
|(a) Jack Hamilton, Wayne, Pa.||85|
|Charlie Kovalcik, Yardley, Pa.||85|
|(a) Henry Kovalcik, Philadelphia, Pa.||85|
|Hugh Reilly, Willow Grove, Pa.||85|
|(a) Stephen Lorenzo, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.||86|
|(a) Andrew Martin, Everett, Wash.||86|
|(a) Kevin Silvestri, Marlboro, N.J.||86|
|Matthew Tyson, Va. Beach, Va.||86|
|(a) Brian Veltkamp, Sellersville, Pa.||86|
|(a) Daniel Dougherty, Wilmington, Del.||87|
|Anthony Guidici, Reading, Pa.||87|
|(a) Daniel Walck, Hatboro, Pa.||87|
|Michael Ferguson, Norfolk, Va.||88|
|(a) Joseph Rueter, Rydal, Pa.||88|
|(a) Jackson Debusschere, Wallingford, Pa.||89|
|(a) Jake Micewski, Broomall, Pa.||91|
|(a) Michael Davis, Newtown Square, Pa.||WD|
|Rusty Harbold, Abington, Pa.||WD|
|(a) Stephen Levchenco, Philadelphia, Pa.||WD|
|(a) Eric Murphy, Telford, Pa.||WD|
|(a) Matt Pulgini, Wilmington, Del.||WD|
|(a) Noam Roizman, Blue Bell, Pa.||WD|
|(a) Ryan Smith, Leesburg, Va.||WD|
|(a) Jacob Zeng, Downingtown, Pa.||WD|
|* – determined in playoff|
|(a) – denotes amateur; WD – withdrawal|
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