Three Punch Their Tickets to Merion
Kevin Phelan, John Hahn endured an hour and a half rain delay to advance to the 113th U.S. Open Championship. The third and final spot was claimed by John Nieporte in a sudden death playoff on Tuesday morning . The sectional qualifying event was conducted by the Florida State Golf Association at The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club, in Bradenton, on Monday, June 3.
Kevin Phelan, 22, of the Republic of Ireland, earned medalist honors after rounds of 65-70--135. Phelan, who is currently a senior at the University of North Florida, got off to a hot start on Monday by making 4 birdies on his opening nine holes to turn at 32. His hot putter continued on his back nine making birdies on 2, 4, 5, and 8 to go along with his lone bogey on the ninth hole for his round of 65. Phelan stated “The course was in excellent shape, I hit the ball really well in the morning and my putting was solid”. In the final round of play Phelan had it to four-under par, but stumbled late with bogies on the difficult 16th and 18th hole for his round of 70. This will be Phelan’s second trip to the U.S. Open Championship after qualifying in 2010.
John Hahn, 24, of Hudson, Ohio, earned his way to the U.S. Open after rounds of 65-71 for a tournament total of eight-under par 136. Hahn, a full time player on the E-Golf Tour, played a flawless first round that included 7 birdies and no bogies. Hahn continued his solid play in the final round turning in 34 to get to 8-under for the day. After two bogies on 12 and 13, Hahn rebounded with a clutch birdie on the par-5 15th hole to punch his ticket to Merion. Hahn will be making his first trip to the U.S. Open Championship.
John Nieporte, of Boca Raton, outlasted David Snyder (15), of McAllen, TX, in a three hole sudden death playoff that ended early Tuesday morning. The pair headed to the difficult par-4 17th hole to decide who would earn the last spot to Merion. After missing two make-able birdie putts on the two previous playoff holes, Nieporte did not waste anytime on Tuesday making birdie on 17 to head to the 113th US Open for the first time. Nieporte who is currently the Head Golf Professional at Trump International Golf Club, also provided the shot of the day with an ace on the par 3 third hole with a 7-iron playing at 208 yards.
The United States Open Championship will be conducted at Merion Golf Club, in Ardmore, Pennsylvania on June 13-16.