2013 U.S. Open Sectional Preview
The Ritz-Carlton Members Club in Bradenton, FL, is one of three first-time sectional sites in 2013, joining Tumble Creek Golf Club in Cle Elum, Wash., and Lakewood Country Club in Dallas. The Tom Fazio design, which can be stretched to 7,417 yards, features 16 lakes and an abundance of vegetation, including trees, marshes and native grass areas.
PGA Tour player Nick O'Hern is expected to compete at this site along with amateur Ricardo Gouveia of Portugal, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills C.C. before losing, 4 and 3, to eventual runner-up Michael Weaver.
Several interesting story-lines involve those who went through local qualifying.
- Andres Echavarria, of Colombia, is the oldest of three golf-playing brothers. The 25-year-old is a former All-American at Florida. Brother Miguel is the captain of the University of Michigan golf team, while youngest brother Nicolas, advanced to the semifinals of the 2011 and 2012 U.S. Junior Amateurs and currently is a standout at Arkansas.
- Amateur Austin Grey, 25, of Spring Hill, FL, spent five years in the U.S. Marine Corps, rising to rank of corporal. He was deployed to Kuwait in 2008. He currently is a member of the St. Leo University golf team.
- Tommy Stankowski, 47, from Fort Myers, FL, is the brother of Paul Stankowski, who has played in four U.S. Opens and won two PGA Tour events.
- Nyasha Mauchaza moved from Zimbabwe to the U.S. in 2005. His parents, both doctors, settled in Haverford, Pa., less than one mile from Merion Golf Club, site of this year's championship. He currently plays on the Golfslinger.com Tour.
- Drew Kittleson, of Scottsdale, AZ, was the runner-up to Danny Lee at the 2008 U.S. Amateur.
- Amateur Brad Schneider, of Valrico, FL, received the David Toms Award, given to a college golfer who has overcome adversity to achieve excellence. Schneider was playing football with his friends six years ago when his right leg caught behind him. Following nine surgeries and four months in bed, he learned to walk properly again and eventually began playing golf.
- Martin Ureta, of Chile, was the runner-up at the 2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links, defeating Anthony Kim in the semifinals. He has since competed on the Web.com and Canadian tours.
- Manuel Villegas, of Colombia, is the younger brother of PGA Tour pro Camilo Villegas, the runner-up at the 1999 U.S. Junior Amateur. Manuel posted his first victory on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica in March.
- Zachary Oakley of Palm City, FL, is the son of 2004 Senior British Open champion Pete Oakley. Zac was a two-time Division III All-American and four-time all-conference golfer at Wesley College in Delaware.
- John Wright, 49, of Gulf Shores, AL, won the 1989 Alabama State Amateur. Wright, who qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur. t plays speed golf once a week. He carries four clubs and plays nine holes in an average of 28 minutes, with an average score of 38. He takes an average of 65 minutes to play 18 holes with an average score of 76.
- Sam Horsfield, 15, from Davenport, FL, advanced to match play at the 2012 Junior Amateur (round of 32) and 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links (round of 64), and qualified for the 2012 U.S Amateur. Horsfield has won two consecutive City of Orlando Amateurs and set a tournament record each year.