J.J. Henry, Jim McGovern, Chris Nallen, Head Field at U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying
Summit, N.J. - The field for the Met Area’s 2005 U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying will feature an impressive roster of PGA and Nationwide Tour regulars, many with Met Area roots, as well as some of the Met Area’s most accomplished amateur and professional players. Scheduled for Monday, June 6th over the North and South courses at Canoe Brook CC in Summit, NJ, this year’s field of 84 contenders will compete over 36 holes for one of six highly coveted spots in the final field for the 105th U.S. Open Championship, scheduled for June 16-19 at the famed Pinehurst # 2 Course, in Pinehurst, NC.
Heading the 2005 list of Met Area natives is J.J. Henry of Fairfield, CT, a former Connecticut Amateur Champion who has been a Tour regular since 2000. Henry is currently enjoying another successful season on Tour and sits 68th on the money list with $518,000 in earnings. He has made nine cuts so far, which include a t-5th at the Zurich Classic and t-10th at the Byron Nelson Classic, and has to be considered one of the favorites to claim one of the U.S. Open spots. Henry will be joined by Long Island native, Len Mattiace, originally from Mineola, NY, who has also enjoyed success on Tour, including two victories in 2002. Mattiace is probably best known, however, for coming from five strokes back in the final round of the 2003 Masters to force a playoff with eventual champion Mike Weir. Henry and Mattiace will join other Tour regulars Tom Byrum, Michael Allen and J.L. Lewis all of whom are winners on Tour.
Representing the Met Area on the Nationwide Tour will be former Met Open and Met Amateur Champion Jim McGovern of Hackensack, NJ, and former New Jersey State Amateur Champion Chris Nallen of Hackettstown, NJ. McGovern, winner of the PGA Shell Houston Open in 1993, has had several top 10 finishes this year on the Nationwide Tour and is currently 21th on the money list. Nallen, a semi-finalist in the 2004 U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot, is a rookie and announced his arrival to the professional ranks last fall in dramatic fashion. After Monday-qualifying with a 63, he went on to shoot a first-round 60 and led wire-to-wire in winning the Gila River Golf Classic by eight strokes. He became the first player to Monday qualify, win in his first career start and lead wire-to-wire in Nationwide Tour history. He was only the 17th Monday qualifier in Tour history to win, tied the Tour record for largest 54-hole margin (six strokes) and won by the second-largest margin in Tour history (eight strokes). The win earned him full exempt status on the Nationwide Tour for 2005, where he has made six cuts in nine events and earned $15,000.
As always, the field will also feature many of the Met Area’s top club professionals including three-time Met Open Champion Darrell Kestner of Deepdale who will be attempting to earn his ninth trip to the Open and who is coming off a terrific (t-31st) finish in the Senior PGA Championship. Joining Kestner will be former Met Open winners Mark Mielke of Mill River (L.I.) (1992), Bobby Heins of Old Oaks (1988-1989), and Bill Britton of Eagle Oaks (1979) as well as 2002 Westchester PGA champion Carl Alexander Golf Club of Purchase, former New Jersey State Open winner Frank Esposito, Jr. of Brooklake, 2004 New York State PGA winner Craig Thomas of Muttontown, reigning MGA Senior Open Champion Ed Whitman of Knickerbocker, 2004 PGA Match Play Champion Frank Bensel of Century and 2004 Met Open runner-up Brian Lamberti of Nevele Grand.
A strong group of amateurs will also be on hand, including 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion and 2005 Masters participant Austin “Ace” Eaton, formerly of Stamford CT, now of New London, NH, and 2002 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion George Zahringer of Deepdale.
Traditionally, the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying in the Met Area is one of the most competitive fields in the country and with only six spots up for grabs, this year will be no exception. Each hopeful will play one round on Canoe Brook’s North and South Courses, both of which are considered among New Jersey’s most challenging and well-conditioned layouts. Full 2004 results and this year’s local qualifying results are enclosed.
The Metropolitan Golf Association conducts the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying. It is open to the public, free of charge.
For more information contact Jeanne McCooey or Gene Westmoreland of the MGA at (914) 347-GOLF or visit the MGA website @ www.mgagolf.org.
U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying Round
Monday, June 6, 2005
Final Field: 84 players
Pros: 65 Amateurs: 19
Qualifying Spots: 6 Format: 36 holes
Players go off 1st and 10th Tees
Starting Times: AM -7:15-8:55 PM - 12:15-1:55
Canoe Brook CC (South), Summit, NJ
Par: 37 – 35 = 72 Slope: 133
Yardage: 3434 + 3257 = 6691 Course Rating: 73
Canoe Brook CC (North), Summit, NJ
Par: 36 – 36 = 72 Slope: 138
Yardage: 3495 + 3571 = 7066 Course Rating: 74.8