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#USOpen Local Qualifying: York

Lese, Siegler share top spot at York

YORK, Pa. — A pair of Maryland-based professionals with venue vibes shared medalist honors in U.S. Open Local Qualifying administered by GAP at Country Club of York (par 70, 6,664yards) Thursday.

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Zachary Lese of Silver Spring, Md. and Ryan Siegler, of Baltimore, Md. carded respective 2-under-par 68s amid postcard conditions. Lese is an instructor at Olney Golf Park in Olney, Md. Siegler, who held conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour from 2020-21, will compete in Monday qualifying and on the GProTour in North Carolina this season.

Fellow professional Alex Blickle, the reigning Pennsylvania Golf Association Open Champion, and Kevin Scherr, an amateur out of Southmoore Golf Center, also qualified at York.

The 122nd U.S. Open will take place June 16-19 at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

“Once you get through somewhere, and you play that well, it’s obvious [where you’ll play U.S. Open Local Qualifying],” Siegler, who also co-medaled at York a year ago, said. “It’ close to home, and I just really like the golf course.”

Lese, too, bears affection for York. Although his 2021 U.S. Open Local Qualifying story slightly differs from Siegler’s.

“I was 1 under going into my last hole [No. 9]. I ended up making double bogey,” Lese, 39, said. “I was getting ready to leave, then all of a sudden, I was in a six-man playoff for first alternate.” Lese secured first alternate status and ultimately competed in U.S. Open Final Qualifying at Century Country Club in Purchase, N.Y.

Lese didn’t let No. 9 bite again. In fact, it served as figurative meat in a birdie sandwich. Slightly downwind, Lese hit an 8-iron 165 yards to 10 feet on No. 9 (par 4, 479 yards). That birdie conversion followed a 12-footer on No. 8 (par 4, 443 yards), set up by 50-degree wedge from 120 yards out of the right rough. Lese caught a break on No. 10 (par 4, 331 yards). With his golf ball resting on a patch of dirt, Lese thought only one option existed: play a cut 20 feet left of the hole location, let it skid and race. Instead, his wedge from 64 yards stopped on its second bounce and rolled off a ridge to two feet for birdie.

What happened on No. 15 (par 4, 471 yards), however, usurped that moment for biggest break.

“I never try to hook a driver, and I tried to hook a driver. It caught a limb. I thought the ball was gone,” Lese said. “It ended up bouncing back into the fairway. I had 205 yards to the hole. I hit 5-iron 20 feet past the hole. I made a par there.”

Lese will compete in U.S. Open Final Qualifying on June 6 at Century and Old Oaks Country Club in Purchase, N.Y.

Like his co-medalist, Siegler won’t break up with York anytime soon. The Donald Ross design gels with his strategic shotmaking.

“I was 3 under through five, so you can start to be a little conservative on the greens. That’s where it can kind of get away from you,” Siegler, 28, said. “If you try to force any putts in, then it’s easy to three putt out here.”

Starting on the back nine, Siegler made a five-footer for birdie on No. 11 (par 4, 422 yards) after hooking an 8-iron from 154 yards to avoid a tree. He knocked a lob wedge 90 yards uphill to eight feet for birdie on No. 13 (par 4, 308 yards). A pitch to two feet for birdie on the par 5, 525-yard 15th hole gave Siegler the start he sought.

“I wasn’t trying to be aggressive off the tees. I was probably more defensive on the putts,” Siegler said. “Like I said, they can kind of get away from you out here. When I was in that 20-foot range, I was trying to get it close.”

Three days ago, Siegler, a West Windsor, N.J., native, consulted close friend and 2021 U.S. Open Qualifying caddie Jason Barry, a golf instructor based at Springdale Golf Club in Princeton, N.J.

“I wanted to tidy things up a little bit, and it obviously worked. I hit a lot of wedges to five or six feet. That’s what we worked on, and it paid off,” Siegler, the 2011 GAP Christman Cup Champion, said. “I have a tendency to get tall with everything. I worked on staying in my golf posture and turning.”

Siegler and Barry will reunite at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. for U.S. Open Final Qualifying on June 6.

Like Siegler, Blickle returns to York because of past history (he qualified here in 2018-19) and adoration for the property. He carded an even-par 70 to advance.

“I love coming back here. It feels like a home course advantage,” Blickle, 29, of Reading, Pa., said. “It was nice to have Scott Bennick on the bag, my buddy. We’re now 4-for-4 in U.S. Open Qualifying,” Blickle also advanced to U.S. Open Final Qualifying in 2016.

Scherr, a recent Youngstown State University graduate, is a U.S. Open Final Qualifying newcomer. He, too, filed an even-par 70 on Thursday.

“It feels good. [Qualifying] was kind of going through my head out there when I was 2 under. Then I made a couple of three-putt bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18. Luckily, my score hung in there,” Scherr, 22, of Nazareth, Pa., said.

Scherr is fresh off a college career that wrapped with Second-Team All-Horizon League honors. He is only the fourth individual in Youngstown State history to garner All-Horizon League on multiple occasions (three). He competed in all 12 tournaments and 32 rounds this season and averaged a team-best 73.1 strokes per round. Scherr’s 73.1 scoring average is tied for third-lowest single-season scoring average in program history.

He intends to spend the summer playing competitive golf and then to turn professional in November.

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 330 Member Clubs and 90,000 individual members are spread across Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers
Name, city, stateScore
Zachary Lese, Silver Spring, Md.68
Ryan Siegler, Baltimore, Md.68
Alex Blickle, Reinholds, Pa.70
(a)Kevin Scherr, Nazareth, Pa.70
Alternates (in order)
*(a)Nicholas Gross, Downingtown, Pa.71
*J.D. Hughes, Orlando, Fla.71
Failed to qualify
*Mark Kriston, Clemmons, N.C.71
*(a)Joshua Ryan, Norristown, Pa.71
*(a)Campbell Wolf, Mechanicsburg, Pa.71
Jason Alexander, Tomball, Texas72
Jack Halleron, Timonium, Md.72
(a)Steven Kluemper, Nazareth, Pa.72
Winton Munch, Traverse City, Mich.72
(a)Nathan Sutherland, Wyomissing, Pa.72
(a)Stuart Carrihill, Leola, Pa.74
Matthew Newman, Los Angeles, Calif.74
(a)Roberto Nieves, Miami, Fla.74
Trevor Bensel, Denver, Pa.75
(a)Ryan Felpel, Lancaster, Pa.75
Cole Miller, New tripoli, Pa.75
Braden Shattuck, Glen Mills, Pa.75
(a)Evan Sitts, Franklin, N.Y.75
Michael Tobiason, Wilmington, Del.75
(a)Logan Wagner, Quarryville, Pa.75
(a)Karl Frisk, Spring Grove, Pa.76
(a)Louis Olsakovsky, Pittsburgh, Pa.76
Billy Stewart, Philadelphia, Pa.76
Aryan Vuradi, Brambleton, Va.76
Rusty Harbold, Abington, Pa.77
(a)Shawn Colella, Marcellus, N.Y.78
(a)Steve Crain, Mechanicsburg, Pa.78
David Hilgers, Hershey, Pa.78
(a)Derek Mcglaughlin, Elizabethtown, Pa.78
David Pagett, Oreland, Pa.78
Aaron Sorkin, Westminster, Md.78
Andrew Turner, Honey brook, Pa.78
Rick Burk, Ashburn, Va.79
(a)Brian Garnsey, Wyoming, Del.79
David Grossman, Annapolis, Md.79
Nicholas Iacono, Malvern, Pa.79
Tyler Newton, Bel air, Md.79
(a)Ian Patterson, Hyattsville, Md.79
Bertus Wessels, Erdenheim, Pa.79
(a)Eric Williams, Honesdale, Pa.79
Parks Price, York, Pa.80
(a)Zach Dixon, Wrightsville, Pa.81
(a)Caleb Bryant, New Freedom, Pa.82
(a)Chris Conklin, Columbia, Md.83
(a)Anthony DePietress, Enola, Pa.83
(a)Brian Noonan, Danville, Pa.83
(a)James Ulsh, Carlisle, Pa.83
(a)Garrett Bastardi, Boalsburg, Pa.84
(a)Zachary Bruecks, West Grove, Pa.84
Austin Green, Waynesboro, Pa.85
Jordan Shuey, Camp Hill, Pa.85
John Spyker, York, Pa.85
(a)Tim Noel, Mechanicsburg, Pa.86
(a)Shane Brookhart, Lancaster, Pa.94
Chris Carpenter, Glenville, Pa.NC
John Pillar, Tafton, Pa.NS
(a)Sean Ledonne, Ellicott City, Md.WD
(a) – denotes amateur
* – determined in playoff
NC – no card; NS – no show; WD – withdrawal