SoCal U.S. Open Qualifiers begin

The Road to Merion began this week, as tournament players across the country participated in U.S. Open Regional Qualifying. The USGA and SCGA hosted four qualifiers in Southern Calfornia Monday and Tuesday, where the five top finishers in each event earned spots in June 3 Sectional Qualifying.

Palm Desert, Calif. – May 14

Ironwood CC, Par 72

Amateur Tyler Sterk, formerly of UC-Santa Barbara, shared medalist honors with pros Mark Hubbard and Michael Drake. Jesse Schutte birdied the 18th then earned the final qualifying spot, while Matt Gibbens bogeyed the last and went on to fall from contention for an alternate spot.

Qualifiers

• a-Tyler Sterk . . . 68

• Mark Hubbard . . . 68

• Michael Drake . . . 68

• Joshua Garber . . . 69

• Jesse Schutte . . . 70

Alternates

• Scott Heyn . . . 70

• Alvin Cheung . . . 71

City of Industry, Calif. – May 14

Industry Hills GC, Par 72

Santiago Canyon College freshman Austin Amaya (pictured on right) tied with Sejun Yoon (pictured on left) for medalist honors by a stroke over the other three qualifiers. First-alternate Benjamin Lein had won this local last year, while Doug Batty earned second-alternate honors this year with a birdie at the 18th.

Qualifiers

• Sejun Yoon . . . 68

• a-Austin Amaya . . . 68

• Kendal Garron . . . 69

• Chi Choi . . . 69

• Vinnie Poncino . . . 69

Alternates

• a-Benjamin Lein . . . 70

• Doug Batty . . . 70

Llano, Calif. – May 14

Crystalaire GC, Par 72

A bogey-free back nine and birdies at Nos. 17-18 propelled Chris Baingo (pictured) to medalist honors by two strokes over David Games, who avoided a playoff with a birdie at the last. Aaron Wise and Eugene Choi earned alternate spots thanks to closing birdies.

Qualifiers

• Chris Baingo . . . 67

• David Games . . . 69

• Derek Zellmer . . . 70

• Eric Ingersoll . . . 70

• a-Yoon Chung . . . 70

Alternates

• a-Aaron Wise . . . 70

• Eugene Choi . . . 70

Bermuda Dunes, Calif. - May 13

Bermuda Dunes CC, Par 72

Lyon Lazare (pictured) shot 3-under 69 to share medalist honors with Alex Coe. Lazare is a senior at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., a member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Coe aced the par-3 seventh and eagled the par-5 13th at Bermuda Dunes. Among the notables who failed to advance is 62-year-old Mac O'Grady, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour who is most known for attending PGA Tour Q-School 17 times before earning his card. He finished T-9 at the 1987 U.S. Open.

Qualifiers

• a-Lyon Lazare . . . 69

• Alex Coe . . . 69

• a-Cass Traub . . . 70

• a-Glenn Hakes . . . 71

• a-Jake Knapp . . . 72

Alternates

• Bret Parker . . . 72

• Josh Anderson . . . 72

La Quinta, Calif. - May 7

Andalusia CC, Par 72

Professional Matt Picanso (pictured), who plays on the Golden State Golf Tour, won medalists honors, besting the rest of the field by three strokes, shooting the only under-par round of the day. Also advancing out of a playoff was USC graduate Joshua Wooding, who participated in the 2010 Northern Trust Open after receiving the prestigious Sifford exemption. Chris Heinz, who finished three strokes behind Picanso, recently reinstated as an amateur. Nicholas Bollini, 2002 SCGA Amateur Champion, shot a 74 to advance out of the playoff. Tim Mickelson, the younger brother of PGA TOUR star Phil Mickelson and head coach at Arizona State is the second alternate.

Qualifiers

• Matt Picanso . . . 69

• a-Chris Heintz . . . 72

• Joshua Wooding . . . 74

• Jeff Gove . . . 74

• Nicholas Bollini . . . 74

Alternates

• John Chin . . . 74

• a-Tim Mickelson . . . 74

Lakeside, Calif. - May 6

Barona Creek GC, Par 72

The Pac-12 dominated the qualifier, advancing three different players on to Sectional Qualifying despite difficult weather that included rain and strong winds. UCLA's Jay Hwang won medalist honors with a 3-under 69, just one stroke ahead of Arizona State's Alberto Sanchez and USC's Anthony Paolucci. Paolucci and Sanchez are both graduates of La Jolla Country Day High School in San Diego.

Qualifiers

• a-Jay Hwang . . . 69

• a-Alberto Sanchez . . . 70

• a-Anthony Paolucci . . . 70

• Chris Parra . . . 70

• Nicolas Garcia . . . 71

Alternates

• Brian Miller . . . 72

• J.J. Spaun . . . 72

Palm Desert, Calif. - May 6

Indian Ridge CC, Par 72

PGA TOUR Canada player and Dan Buchner shot a 6-under 66 to win medalist honors. The 39-year-old attended UC Santa Barbara.

Qualifiers

• Dan Buchner . . . 66

• Ryan Thomas . . . 68

• Tyler Ostrovsky . . . 68

• a-Alex Chiarella . . . 68

• Stephen Hale . . . 69

Alternates

• Estanislao Guerrero . . . 69

• a-Ryan Odom . . . 69

Valencia, Calif. - May 6

Valencia CC, Par 72

Pepperdine senior John MacArthur captured medalist honors on his home course, shooting a 4-under 68, besting UCLA's Jonathan Garrick by one stroke. Garrick was coming off a T-5 finish at last week's Pac-12 Conference Championships. Alex Shi Kim, a UCLA alum, advanced as well.

Qualifiers

• a-John MacArthur . . . 68

• a-Jonathan Garrick . . . 69

• Michael McCabe . . . 70

• a-Joshua Shou . . . 70

• Shi Kim . . . 71

Alternates

• Chris Zambri . . . 72

• Darren Ernst . . . 72


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