Chopra Leads 5 Qualifiers from Canoe Brook
SUMMIT, N.J. (June 5, 2017) – Impressive rounds of 66-65 led Swedish-born Daniel Chopra to an 11-under 131 total and medalist honors on Monday at Canoe Brook Country Club, as five competitors punched tickets to the 117th U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisc., June 15-18.
Web.com Tour player Andy Pope of Orlando, Fla., and amateurs Christopher Crawford of Bensalem, Pa., and Scott Harvey of Greensboro, N.C., tallied 8-under 134s, while Matthew Campbell of Rome, N.Y., claimed the final spot in a playoff to round out the five qualifiers.
“I felt really good about my game coming in here,” said Chopra, who will make his first U.S. Open start since 2008. “I was excited and felt it would be a good opportunity if I just kept my head on my shoulders and played solid golf, I’d have a great chance.”
Chopra opened with a 4-under 66 on the South Course, before closing strong with a 7-under 65 on the longer North Course—tallying 13 birdies on the day to just two bogeys. After bouncing between professional tours, the two-time PGA TOUR winner is looking to continue his upward trend and capitalize on his past experience as he heads to the U.S. Open.
“Experience tells you that no matter how bad it seems, you know at some point you will come out of it,” said Chopra, who has already logged a pair of top-10s on the Web.com Tour this season. “Being able to back away and see it from that perspective and realize it will change, makes it easier to change … There’s no doubt that I felt that my ability was capable of getting me to the highest level. I just had to relax a little bit and not get so uptight and I’m finding a way to play more relaxed golf now.”
Despite Monday being Harvey’s first time on the grounds at Canoe Brook, the 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion scorched the North Course for a 9-under 63, taking a two-shot lead into the afternoon as he eyed his first trip to the U.S. Open.
“It had to be done today—not tomorrow, not yesterday, but today—and I can’t describe how happy I am right now,” said Harvey upon qualifying. “I was out there thinking that I’m in the zone,” he continued, reflecting on his bogey-free morning round which featured a six-under 30 on the front nine. “I just cruised around and played smart [in the afternoon].”
Meanwhile, Pope secured his third straight trip to the U.S. Open with a pair of 4-under rounds, shooting 68 on the North Course in the morning and 66 on the South Course in the afternoon. Pope, who qualified from Canoe Brook in 2016 as well, used a stretch of five birdies in seven holes in the afternoon to quickly jump up the leaderboard and secure his spot at Erin Hills.
Crawford also made it two consecutive successes at Canoe Brook, following his 18th hole heroics that involved a 40-foot putt in 2016. “I just played really solid all day,” said Crawford an assistant coach at Drexel University. “I didn’t get in a whole lot of trouble and in the morning I was able to make a lot of putts on top of it to shoot a decent number.”
Five-straight birdies on Nos. 18-4 (he started on hole 10) of the North Course propelled Crawford in the morning. “They were all mid-range putts, all 10-15 feet. I hit solid iron shots and then got some good reads and just happened to make them.”
While Erin Hills will be a new challenge for much of the field, Crawford will have experience to lean on after competing in the 2011 U.S. Amateur at the site. “I think back then I wasn’t long enough at that point,” said Crawford. “I was too young to be able to compete on a golf course like that. I think now, I’m looking forward to seeing how much differently I can play.”
Matthew Campbell of Rome, N.Y., emerged from a playoff with Roberto Diaz of Mexico after both carded matching 7-under 135s. Campbell had nine birdies and an eagle on Monday, to just two bogeys and a double-bogey. He parred the second playoff hole, the par-four 9th (North Course) to advance to the U.S. Open.
With Diaz taking the first alternate position, Cameron Wilson of Rowayton, Conn., and Michael Miller of Brewster, N.Y., squared off for the second alternate slot, both tallying 6-under 136s. Wilson chipped in on their second playoff hole, the par-three 11th (North Course) to secure the spot. Wilson qualified for the U.S Open in 2012 as an amateur.
Calm, overcast conditions allowed players to take advantage of both courses after rains overnight. The North Course played to 7,093 yards as a par-72, while the South Course played 6,669 yards as a par-70.
While no Met Area competitors advanced from Canoe Brook, three familiar names advanced from other sites. The 2016 MGA Player of the Year Stewart Hagestad took advantage of playing in his hometown of Newport Beach, Calif., posting rounds of 67 at Newport Beach Country Club and 68 at his home club of Big Canyon Country Club to finish solo third and grab one of six qualifying positions from the site. After claiming low amateur honors at the 81st Masters in April, Hagestad is now set for his first U.S. Open. Recent Duke graduate Max Greyserman of Short Hills, N.J., will also make his first U.S. Open start, qualifying from Tacoma Golf and Country Club in Lakewood, Wash. Greyserman made his professional debut last week in the Mackenzie Tour's Freedom 55 Financial Open in Vancouver, British Columbia. Finally, former St. John's University player Keegan Bradley advanced from the Columbus, Ohio, site carding rounds of 65-69 to finish tied fourth.