U.S. Open Sectional Preview
38 Professionals and 17 Amateurs will tee it up Monday at Quail Valley Golf Club, in Vero Beach vying for 4 spots in this year’s U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst June 12th-15th. Quail Valley like Pinehurst, pulled a double this year, hosting the U.S. Women’s Open Sectional Qualifier last Friday. Full Story.
The field is highlighted by PGA Tour winners: Fredrick Jacobson, of Sweeden and Brian Gay, of Windermere. Jacobson has made the cut at this past weekends’ Memorial Tournament, and has a PGA Tour win along with three European Tour victories. His best finish in a U.S. Open was T5 in 2003. Gay, a University of Florida Alum, has four PGA Tour victories, the last coming at the 2013 Humana Challenge.
Nick O’Hern, of Australia,currently has partial status on the Web.com & PGA Tours, and has two career wins on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
2013 State Amateur Champion, Sam Horsfield (a), of Davenport, will be at Quail Valley. Horsfield has enjoyed past success at Quail, capturing the 2011 FSGA Boys’ Junior there. Horsfield’s strong summer play in 2013 saw him advance to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, and the quarterfinals of the U.S. Junior Amateur. Sam claimed 2013 FSGA Junior Play of the Year honors. Sam won the New Year’s Invitational at St. Petersburg Country Club this January and moved up to 6th in the WAGR Rankings.
Curtis Thompson (a), of Coral Springs, is a Junior at LSU. He has captured two Dixie Amateur titles (2011 & 2013), and is currently #123 in the WAGR Rankings. He may be out shadowed by his siblings, PGA Tour Member Nicholas, LPGA Major Champion Lexi.
Rollins College alum, and a recently reinstated Amateur, Jeff Golden (a), of Jacksonville, advanced to the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont, going through both local and sectional qualifying, and went on to take FSGA Player of the Year honors as well.
The field includes two pairs of brothers. First, from Columbia, Andres Echavarria, a University of Florida Alum, and PGA Tour Latinoamerica member, qualified through local in Kennesaw, GA, while his younger brother Nicolas Echavarria (a), a sophomore at the University of Arkansas was exempt into sectional. Brothers, MJ & Jack Maguire, of Saint Petersburg, will both be at Quail Valley too. MJ plays at the University of North Florida, and advanced through qualifying at Fernandina Beach, while Jack coming off his freshman year at Florida State, which included victories at the USF Invitational and the Mason Rudolph Championship, was exempt after climbing inside the top 50 of the WAGR Rankings this spring.
Jack will be joined by Florida State teammate, and two-time FSGA Junior Player of the Year (2010 & 2012), Hank Lebioda (a), of Winter Springs. Lebioda won the 2010 & 2012 Florida Boys’ Junior Championships and advanced at Orange Tree Golf Club in Orlando. Lebioda’s college highlights this past season included taking co-medalist honors at the Gator Invitational.
Continuing on the college track, three USF Bulls will be teeing it up at Quail Valley. Trey Valentine (a), of Melbourne, advanced at Indian River Club, while teammates Chase Koepka (a), of West Palm Beach, and Richard James (a), of Tampa, advanced at Lake Jovita, with Chase taking medalist honors. James just completed his senior season, and Valentine his junior season, while Koepka just completed his sophomore season. Valentine won the Seminole Intercollegiate this spring. Koepka won the AutoTrader.com Collegiate and the Rees Jones Invitational this season and finished runner-up in The American Conference Championship. Chase’s older brother Brooks, a PGA & European Tour member, just qualified for the U.S. Open this past week at the sectional qualifier in England.
- 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links Champion, Lion Kim, of Lake Mary, is now a professional and will look to play in his second major championship after playing the 2011 Masters.
- Rod Perry, of Port Orange, is no stranger to Quail Valley either, the 2013 PGA PNC Champion and 2011 Florida Open Champion finished T3 at Quail Valley last year in The Florida Open.
- Matthew Richardson, of England, will look to play in his third U.S. Open. The 2005 European Walker Cup team member advanced in both 2010 & 2011 to the national championship.
- Jimmy Stanger (a), of Tampa, a sophomore at the University of Virginia, advanced at Fox Hollow Golf Club. Stanger won the 2010 FSGA Boys’ Junior Championship.
- Lee Williamson, of Winter Springs, is a golf professional at Stoneybrook West, and was the 2002 U.S. Amateur Public Links runner-up to Ryan Moore.
- Matthew Ceravolo, of Wellington, is now a professional and advanced at Legacy Golf & Tennis Club, won the 2008 FSGA Boys’ Junior and won a record 6 consecutive Florida Junior Tour Events in 2007-2008.
- Tyson Alexander, of Gainesville, son of 1986 U.S. Amateur Champion, and retired University of Florida coach Buddy Alexander, recently won a NGA Tour event at Ocala National and advanced to sectional in Richmond, Ky.
- Joey Garber (a), of Petoskey, MI, just finished his senior season at the University of Georgia, and is currently ranked #31 in the WAGR Rankings.
Play will begin at 7:15 AM. The morning round will have scores updated after nine holes. The afternoon round will have hole by hole live scoring with each group coming down the stretch. Click here for Live Scoring.
Click here for a recap of the 17 U.S. Open Local Qualifiers conducted in Florida.