YORK, Pa. — A pair of professionals axed York aches of yonder Thursday.
Mark Kriston (pictured above, right), who competes on the GProTour in North Carolina, and Ryan Siegler, who holds conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour, carded respective 5-under-par 65s in U.S. Open Local Qualifying administered by GAP (Golf Association of Philadelphia) at Country Club of York (par 70, 6,664 yards). As a result, the two shared medalist honors and advanced to Sectional Qualifying.
Amateurs and soon-to-be college graduates Austin Devereux (Rider University) and Connor Schmidt (Drexel University) also finished in red figures to advance. Devereux carded a 2-under-par 68, Schmidt a 3-under-par 67.
The 121st U.S. Open will take place June 17-20 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif.
“Four years ago here, I lost in a playoff [for the last qualifying position], but I actually got in as an alternate up at Woodmont (Country Club). I missed by three there,” Kriston, 37, of Winston-Salem, N.C., said. “I came up to York [in 2018], and it poured rain again. I was 5 over through six and it was a bad stretch. So, I just decided to come back up here. I wanted to start getting on the road because I need to get use to traveling. I was a little anxious this morning. I haven’t been away from North Carolina in nine months.”
Siegler, 27, of Baltimore, Md., competed in 2019 U.S. Open Local Qualifying at York.
“I really like the golf course. The last time it was disappointing to not get through here,” he said. “I shot 71 and missed a playoff for alternates by one. It was good to do what I did today. I knew that if I came out here and didn’t do anything too dumb or give away shots, then I’d have a good chance.”
Neither Kriston or Siegler did anything foolish — at least on the golf course anyway. The lefties toured York bogey free.
Kriston, who started on the back nine, leaped atop the leaderboard following three consecutive birdies. On No. 13 (par 4, 308 yards), he lifted a 58-degree wedge 77 yards to six feet below the hole. An 8-iron to the front fringe on No. 14 (par 5, 525 yards) afforded an eagle opportunity. Kriston ran it six feet by, but buried the downhill comebacker for birdie. On No. 15 (par 4, 471 yards), his “runner, jumper” 9-iron from 168 yards stopped 12 feet from the hole location.
“That’s gravy on top. I was just trying to get off to a good start,” Kriston said.
Kriston closed his outward tour with a textbook birdie on No. 18 (par 4, 384 yards). His sand wedge from 118 yards spun downwind and stopped eight feet left of the hole location. On No. 1 (par 4, 425 yards), Kriston nearly jarred a 58-degree wedge from 87 yards. He tapped in for birdie.
Apropos that sunshine graced York Monday. The rains of years past, mixed with missed GProTour cuts over the past year, gave way to a Kriston breakthrough.
“It’s been frustrating. I have cracked two drivers this season. I cracked my 3-wood yesterday [in a practice round here],” Kriston, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate, said. “But I think it helped me. Cracking other clubs helped me deal with the anxiety of, ‘Here we go again.’”
Siegler, like Kriston, cracked a smile — or 18 — at York.
“I really like the golf course. I drove it really well today,” Siegler, a Towson University graduate, said. “It was pretty stress free honestly. I did the right stuff all the way around.”
Netting 17 greens in regulation is the right stuff. After sending a 3-iron into the left bunker on No. 2 (par 5, 526 yards), Siegler splashed into kick-in birdie territory. His wedge from the right rough on No. 8 (par 4, 443 yards) traveled 107 yards to six feet. Siegler made it back-to-back birdies by hitting a sand wedge 120 yards to 20 feet on No. 9 (par 4, 479 yards) More par-5 red shed on No. 14, where Siegler logged two putts after launching a 7-iron to the front of the green. He finished at 65 thanks to a birdie as sensational as Kriston’s on No. 18. With 74 yards to a front hole location, he carefully executed a well-flighted wedge out of the left rough.
“I kind of had a weird lie. I was just trying to chop it somewhere on the front of the green to the right, to use the slope to kill it,” Siegler, the 2011 GAP Christman Cup champion, said. “It came all the way down to three feet. It was a stressful three-footer down the hill. It’s always good to tie for medalist.”
Siegler will head to Century Country Club and Old Oaks Country Club in Purchase, N.Y. for U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying on June 7. For Kriston, it’s another crack at Woodmont Country Club (North Course) in Rockville, Md.
Devereux, who works at Manasquan River Golf Club, is set to graduate from Rider on Saturday, May 15. He, however, won’t be in attendance. Devereux, who won the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Individual Championship on April 25, will compete in NCAA Regionals at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs, Tenn.
A U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying invitation will replace a diploma for now.
“It feels good,” Devereux, 22, of Brielle, N.J., said. “My game’s been a little looser coming in here. Today, it was back to where it was before. I was hitting all of the shots I needed to hit. I’ll take a lot of positives away from it.”
Schmidt, a LuLu Country Club member, will graduate from Drexel on June 11. A business management and supply chain management major, he plans to turn professional in the fall. For now, the 2018 Pennsylvania Golf Association Amateur champion will compete in U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying for the first time.
“I didn’t have a good college season, but I felt like my game was in a really good spot today. The best it has been all year,” Schmidt, 23, of Venetia, Pa., said. “I was pretty confident. I love this course. It fits my game well.”
GAP will next conduct U.S. Open Local Qualifying on Monday, May 17 at Elmhurst Country 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.
|Mark Kriston, Clemmons, N.C.||65|
|Ryan Siegler, Baltimore, Md.||65|
|(a)Connor Schmidt, Venetia, Pa.||67|
|(a)Austin Devereux, Brielle, N.J.||68|
|Alternates (in order)|
|*Zachary Lese, Silver Spring, Md.||71|
|*Harrison Rhoades, Raleigh, N.C.||71|
|Failed to qualify|
|*Eric Beringer, Boca Raton, Fla.||71|
|*(a)Billy Gussler, Ashland, Ky.||71|
|*(a)Joshua Ryan, Norristown, Pa.||71|
|*(a)Ross Pilliod, Sinking Spring, Pa.||71|
|(a)Elliot Parker, Cranford, N.J.||72|
|Brinson Paolini, Va. Beach, Va.||72|
|(a)Benjamin Smith, Blain, Pa.||72|
|Chris Krueger, Lewes, Del.||73|
|Nathaniel Short, York, Pa.||73|
|Blake Hinckley, Greenville, Del.||73|
|Jordan Shuey, Camp Hill, Pa.||73|
|(a)Troy Vannucci, Marlton, N.J.||73|
|Parks Price, York, Pa.||73|
|(a)Aryan Vuradi, Brambleton, Va.||73|
|Gregory Pieczynski, Arlington, Va.||73|
|(a)Derek McGlaughlin, Elizabethtown, Pa.||74|
|Michael Tobiason, Wilmington, Del.||74|
|(a)David Stanford, Vienna, Va.||74|
|Maclain Huge, Charlotte, N.C.||74|
|(a)Cole Willcox, Malvern, Pa.||74|
|(a)Zach Dixon, Wrightsville, Pa.||74|
|(a)Connor Sheehan, Quarryville, Pa.||74|
|David Hilgers, Hershey, Pa.||75|
|Alex Blickle, Reinholds, Pa.||75|
|Garrett Bastardi, Boalsburg, Pa.||75|
|Louis Kelly, Sewell, N.J.||75|
|Tyler Newton, Bel Air, Md.||75|
|(a)Christian Park, Charlotte, N.C.||75|
|(a)Steven Max Siegfried, Villanova, Pa.||75|
|William Boyle, St. Simons Island, Ga.||75|
|Nicholas Iacono, Malvern, Pa.||75|
|Billy Stewart, Devon, Pa.||76|
|(a)Garrett Engle, Harrisburg, Pa.||76|
|(a)Andrew Rice, Parkton, Md.||76|
|(a)Jeffrey Cunningham, West Palm Beach, Fla.||76|
|(a)Grant Skyllas, Wyomissing, Pa.||76|
|(a)Connor Flach, Ellicott City, Md.||77|
|(a)Gary Carpenter, Crofton, Md.||77|
|(a)Blake Wisdom, Bradenton, Fla.||77|
|(a)Blaine Lafferty, Marlton, N.J.||77|
|(a)Andrew Forjan, York, Pa.||78|
|Michael Rushin, Ocean View, Del.||78|
|(a)Corey Betham, Norristown, Pa.||78|
|(a)Timothy Elliott, Glen Arm, Md.||78|
|(a)Zach Dilcher, Avondale, Pa.||78|
|(a)Alex Butler, East Norriton, Pa.||78|
|(a)James Ulsh, Carlisle, Pa.||78|
|(a)Steven Kluemper, Bethlehem, Pa.||79|
|(a)Shane Brookhart, Ellicott City, Md.||79|
|Joshua Grundon, Carlisle, Pa.||79|
|Dustin Wallis, York, Pa.||79|
|Patrick D’Anthony, New Windsor, Md.||80|
|Brandon Havas, Salisbury, Md.||80|
|(a)Timothy Cooper, Harrisburg, Pa.||80|
|(a)Ronald Thomas, Lothian, Md.||81|
|Christopher Dymek, Brielle, N.J.||83|
|Brian Hurst, Johns Island, S.C.||83|
|(a)Adam Zei, Harrisburg, Pa.||84|
|(a)Mitch Burns, Landisville, Pa.||85|
|(a)Bryant Li, West New York, N.J.||85|
|Andrew Barbin, Rising Sun, Md.||85|
|Conrad Benford, Parker Ford, Pa.||86|
|Ben Kassman, West Palm Beach, Fla.||86|
|(a)Matt Griswold, Arnold, Md.||86|
|Alani Leonardo Sewell, Philadelphia, Pa.||103|
|(a)Jackson Bussell, Lincolnshire, Ill.||WD|
|(a)Aidan Baron, Leesburg, Va.||WD|
|Chase Hanna, Leawood, Kansas||WD|
|(a)Andrew Franz, Boston, Mass.||WD|
|(a)Rick Stimmel, Pittsburgh, Pa.||WD|
|Brett Francisco, Hanover, Pa.||WD|
|* – determined in playoff|
|(a) – denotes amateur; WD – withdrawal|
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