WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (May 13, 2015) - Elmwood Country Club gave way for eight players to advance through a Local Qualifying Round for the 2015 U.S. Open. All who qualified will move forward to a Sectional Qualifying Round. Two alternates were also designated.
Competitors in the morning were greeted with rough conditions as high winds forced even the simple shots into unwarranted directions. However, those winds didn’t stop amateur William Davenport of Palm City, Florida from shooting a 4-under 67, with an eagle on his 5th hole to kick-off a near-perfect round.
“I hadn’t ever seen the course, so I played some conservative golf, which paid off well for me…the biggest thing I’ve changed in my game the last two years has been battling the wind, bringing my ball flight down I have found very useful. That was big for me today.”
Davenport will be graduating from Yale on Monday, and as if that weren’t impressive enough, today’s round got him into his first U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier. Finally some good luck in a USGA event, he says.
“One was in West Palm Beach and I missed by one shot, the other was a U.S. Amateur qualifier four years ago - I shot 7-under and lost to Brooks Koepka in a playoff. I made birdie on the first playoff hole and he made eagle, so that one I can just chalk up to him being a better player.”
In any case, Davenport finally caught his break and is one step closer to Chambers Bay.
Accompanying the wind, colder weather greeted players in the afternoon wave. Even though he was one of the first groups in the afternoon to finish, Steve Scott maintained his qualifying spot at a 1-under 70, Steve Scott claimed a spot in the Sectional Qualifier to try for his second U.S. Open appearance since 1996. The Paramount Head Golf Professional is well known for his famous, yet fatefully unsuccessful, U.S. Amateur stand-off against a young Tiger Woods in 1996. Scott has played on the PGA TOUR, the Nationwide Tour (now the web.com Tour), and was the number-one-ranked amateur in the U.S. in 1999. He also competed in the 1997 Masters.
Also at a 1-under 70 is amateur John Flaherty from Glastonbury, Conn. Following up in the last few groups at an even par 71, Mark Watros of Darien, Conn. waited all day to find out that he earned a spot moving forward. Watros is the Caddie Master at Country Club of Darien and was also joined by Shaun Powers of Greenwich, CT. Powers recently made it into the Round of 16 in the 2015 Met PGA MasterCard Westchester PGA Championship but was defeated by Frank Bensel, where fellow qualifier Steve Scott was runner-up to Rob Labritz.
After a formidable ten-man playoff, the first player to secure a spot was amateur Kyle Higgins of Massapequa, N.Y. Following Higgins, amateur Patrick Griffin was quick to grab the next qualifying spot. In the end, after a total of five playoff holes, a bogey clinched Thomas McCarthy of New York, N.Y. the last spot, leaving amateur Christopher Troy of Greenwich, Conn. and amateur Ryan Gabel of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. as first and second alternate, respectively.
Elmwood played to a par 71 at 6,950 yards for a starting field of 144 players.
The two remaining local qualifiers conducted by the MGA are both on Thursday, May 14, at Canoe Brook Country Club (North Course) in Summit, N.J., and at Bethpage State Park Golf Course (Red Course), in Farmingdale, N.Y.