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Bala GC’s Walker tops Spring Ford CC Open Qualifier

  ROYERSFORD, Pa. – Bill Walker, an assistant professional out of Bala GC, rode some fortuitous bounces and timely long putts to top the 109-player field attempting to qualify for the 104th Open Championship at Spring Ford CC (par 72, 6,698 yards) Monday.

  Walker carded a 3-under-par 69 to lead the field at the second qualifier used to help determine the field for the Championship set for July 23 at Lookaway GC.

  "I had a couple shots that could have ended up in bad shape but bounced the right way," said the assistant professional in his second year at Bala GC. "I had a couple where I made birdie where I thought I might make a bogey."

  Such was the case on the par 4, 17th hole (413 yards) when Walker’s 4-iron off the tee went into a tree guarding the right side of the fairway. Figuring he’d be in some trouble, Walker was surprised to find his ball sitting in the fairway just over 215 yards from the flagstick. From there, he knocked a 5-iron onto the green and made the downhill 40-footer for his third birdie through eight holes (Walker started on No. 10).

  As he made the turn onto the first hole (No. 1, par 4, 457 yards), Walker found trouble right away after his tee shot found the fairway bunker and his second shot from the sand headed directly at the creek cutting across the fairway. But lady luck appeared yet again as his ball miraculously struck a rock in the hazard and bounced up onto the fairway where he eventually made a bogey.

  "That was a fortunate bounce and outcome," said Walker, 38, of Riverton, N.J. "It could have been a lot worse."

  Walker, who’s best finish at the Open was a tie for eighth place, hopes to take his strong play on into the Championship next month.

  "I struck it pretty steady all day, had some fortunate bounces and made some putts," Walker said. "[The Open Championship] is still a month away so I still have to play well leading in."

  Added Walker, "I want to continue to play well and try and keep the momentum going into our [Philadelphia] Section tournaments and then hopefully into the Open."

  When the day came to an end, the cut line fell to 75 and a total of 22 players advanced into the Championship.

  The Open Championship’s field of 72 players will be comprised of 24 exempt entrants and 48 qualifiers. The final qualifier is scheduled for June 25 at LedgeRock GC where there will be nine qualifying positions available. The Open Championship will have a purse of $40,000.

  Mark Miller of Yardley CC finished at even-par 140 to take the 103rd Open Championship at historic Merion GC. Miller edged out Mark Sheftic (rounds of 70-71), an assistant professional at Sunnybrook GC, and the remainder of the 72-player field, by a stroke to become only the 12th amateur to capture the Open Championship.

  The field for the 104th Open Championship will consist of professionals who are members in good standing of the Philadelphia Section PGA, head professionals of GAP Member Clubs and amateurs who are members of member clubs and have handicap index of 7.0 or less.

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Founded in 1897, the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is the oldest regional golf association in the United States and serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. Its 136 Member Clubs and 56,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The purpose of the Association is simple: To promote, protect and preserve the game of golf in the region.

Qualifiers

Name

Club

Score

Bill Walker

Bala GC

69

(a) Warren Taylor

Yardley CC

70

Eric Dovre

Galloway National GC

71

(a) Eric Spiller

Woodcrest CC

72

Kevin Melrath

Sunnybrook GC

72

(a) Andrew Lawson

Hershey's Mill GC

73

(a) Pierce Dever

Jericho National GC

73

Gregory Pieczynski

The Academy Golf Center

73

(a) Stephen Dressel

Spring Ford CC

73

Andrew Barbin

Chesapeake Bay GC

74

(a) Oscar Mestre, Jr.

Overbrook GC

74

(a) Robert Dziak

Spring Ford CC

74

Kevin Nicholson

Sunnybrook GC

74

(a) David Liotta

Whitemarsh Valley CC

74

*(a) Desmond Patrick Atkinson

Riverton CC

75

*(a) David Goodman

Bucks County GC

75

*Rick Hughart

Tavistock CC

75

*John Spina

Philadelphia Cricket Club

75

*Mike Dynda

Blue Bell CC

75

*Hugh Reilly

Huntingdon Valley CC

75

*(a) Rich Pruchnik

West Chester G&CC

75

*Robert Agresti

Aronimink GC

75

  

Alternates (in order)

*(a) Robert de Rojas

RiverCrest GC & Preserve

75

*Anthony Napoletano

Chester Valley GC

76

*(a) James Kania, Jr.

Overbrook GC

76

*(a) John Robinson

Commonwealth National GC

76

 

Failed to qualify

*(a) Russell Hartung

Doylestown CC

76

(a) Kevin Genuardi

Cedarbrook CC

77

Gregory Farrow

Deerwood CC

77

(a) Ted Brennan

Philadelphia CC

77

(a) Sam Pancoast

Radley Run CC

77

(a) Tom Borsello

Fieldstone GC

77

Brian Levengood

Aronimink GC

77

John Allen

Sunnybrook GC

77

(a) David Taraschi

Merchantville CC

77

(a) C.J. Van Ostenbridge

Spring Ford CC

77

(a) P. Chet Walsh

Philadelphia CC

77

George Frake, II

Little Mill CC

77

Michael Sullivan

Whitemarsh Valley CC

77

Eric Korpics

Lookaway GC

78

(a) Kevin Melnick, Jr.

Plymouth CC

78

(a) Daniel Bernard

RiverCrest GC & Preserve

78

(a) Benjamin Cooley

Lu Lu CC

78

(a) G. Patrick Dougherty

Talamore CC

78

(a) Greg Verde

Spring Ford CC

78

(a) Nelson Hargrove

Merion GC

78

(a) Michael Domenick

Phoenixville CC

78

(a) Tom Carter

Greate Bay CC

78

(a) Duncan Zeiders

Old York Road CC

78

(a) Scott Klee

Indian Valley CC

78

(a) Daniel Charen

Yardley CC

78

(a) Peter Moran

Edgmont CC

78

(a) Joseph Gunerman

Yardley CC

78

Dennis Strigh

Frog Rock CC

79

(a) Colin Smith

Radley Run CC

79

(a) George Steinmetz

Spring Ford CC

79

David Smith, Jr.

Yardley CC

79

(a) Ken Sim

Commonwealth National GC

79

David Clark

Pine Valley GC

79

David Seeman, Jr.

The St. Annes Club

79

Jeffrey Kiddie

Aronimink GC

79

(a) Patrick Rugg

Rolling Green GC

79

William Mullen

Whitemarsh Valley CC

79

(a) Tim Pici

Chester Valley GC

80

(a) Drew Panebianco

Talamore CC

80

(a) Bo Maguire

Brookside CC

80

(a) James Tallent

Merion GC

80

John Diamond

Talamore CC

80

J.R. Delich

Applebrook GC

80

(a) Stephen Belh

Woodbury CC

81

(a) Thomas Mallouk

Lookaway GC

81

(a) Gary Root

French Creek GC

81

Michael Paukovits

Moselem Springs GC

81

(a) Vinny Alessi

Penn Oaks GC

81

(a) Ben Feld

Blue Bell CC

81

(a) Michael Quinn

Edgmont CC

81

(a) Matthew Pesci

Yardley CC

82

(a) John Palmer

Chester Valley GC

82

(a) Stephen Sieracki

Merchantville CC

82

(a) Matt Kaelin

Little Mill CC

82

(a) Craig Labarbera

RiverCrest GC & Preserve

82

(a) Michael Flatley

Bellewood GC

82

(a) Zachary Herr

Jericho National GC

83

(a) Fred Luck

Spring Ford CC

83

(a) William Hoese

Links GC

83

(a) James Braunsberg

Blue Bell CC

83

Darren Mills

Northampton CC

83

(a) Burton McHugh

Sunnybrook GC

84

(a) Tim Westfall

RiverCrest GC & Preserve

84

(a) Jeffrey Huntzinger

North Hills CC

84

(a) Jack Rosenberg

Waynesborough CC

85

Mark Anderson

Philadelphia Cricket Club

86

(a) Philip Petroll

Penn Oaks GC

86

(a) Craig Munson

Honeybrook GC

87

(a) Michael Beran

RiverCrest GC & Preserve

87

(a) Ross Godick

Rolling Green GC

88

C.J. Park

Five Ponds GC

88

Chandler Withington

Merion GC

89

(a) Joseph Dulka

DuPont CC

89

(a) James Della Guardia

Spring Ford CC

90

(a) Chuck Kraatz

Talamore CC

90

(a) Jason Barkley

Moselem Springs GC

94

(a) Jon Thomas

White Clay Creek CC

95

Michael Duffy

The Saint Annes Club

WD

(a) Bobby Kershner

Spring Ford CC

WD

(a) Mark Kosko

Seaview Marriott Resort & Spa

WD

Terry Hertzog

Bent Creek CC

WD

(a) John Sweeney

Lancaster CC

WD

(a) Andy Achenbach

RiverCrest GC & Preserve

DQ

  

*-determined in a playoff

(a) amateur

DQ-disqualification; WD-withdrawal

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