Pillar tops U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier at Woodcrest CCCHERRY HILL, N.J.â€“John Pillar of Hawley, Pa., the head professional and director of golf at the CC of Woodloch Springs, carded a 4-under-par 67 at Woodcrest CC (par 71, 6,520 yards) Thursday to earn medallist honors in a local qualifier for the U.S. Open Championship.
"This was unexpected," said Pillar, who headed the list of five players advancing from Woodcrest to Sectional qualifying set for May 26-June 2 at multiple nationwide sites. "My game hasnâ€™t been up to any standards this year."
Woodcrest CC appears to be the perfect cure for any of Pillarâ€™s blues.
In the 2005 Woodcrest Invitational, he finished at 7-under par to take the title.
In addition to Pillar, also Moving onto Sectionals, were: David Sanders, a high school junior from Lenape High School who fired a 3-under 68; David Quinn, the director of golf at Links GC (70); Dick Smith, Jr., the head professional at Woodcrest CC (72) and Robert Hornibrook (73), an assistant professional at Burlington, N.J., who advanced in a two-man playoff.
Pillar started his round on the back nine and made the turn at 1-under par after two birdies and a bogey. Another over-par number on No. 1 (par 4, 404 yards) dropped the 40-year-old back to even before he followed with four birdies in the next seven holes.
Pillar recorded red figures on No. 2 (par 5, 522 yards) after a two-putt from 30 feet; No.4 (par 5, 512 yards) on an up-and-down from the right greenside bunker; No. 6 (par 4, 322 yards) on a 9-iron from 115 yards to five feet and No. 8 (par 4, 420 yards) with a wedge from 120 yards to eight feet. He finished with a 3-under-par 32 on the front side.
Pillar, who has advanced to Sectionals a total of six times, will head to Purchase, N.Y., and Old Oaks CC/Century CC for the next stage of qualifying. Heâ€™s made the U.S. Open field once, in 1997 when Congressional CC played host. He did not make the cut that year.
Sanders, 17, of Mount Laurel, N.J., and Laurel Creek CC, will be making his first Sectional appearance.
The highly rated junior carded three birdies and no bogeys on the front side to register a 3-under 32 at the turn. Sanders birdied No. 3 (par 3, 173 yards) with a 6-iron to five feet; No. 4 (par 5, 512 yards) when he got up-and-down from the short right bunker and No. 9 (par 4, 360 yards) when he knocked a wedge from 60 yards to 10 feet.
Sanders is heading to Beallsville, Md., and the Members Club at Four Streams for Sectionals.
Quinn, 42, of Marlton, N.J., advanced to his eighth sectional qualifier.
A small miracle considering a week ago Wednesday, Quinn strained a neck muscle. He was able to swing a club for the first time since then yesterday.
"It was the best I couldâ€™ve done," said Quinn. "I punched it around and got it in play. As the day went on it got a little better.
"Iâ€™ve had a hurt neck for years and years and years so Iâ€™ve played with this before."
Quinn, too, is headed to Purchase, N.Y., for Sectionals. Heâ€™s still in search of his first U.S. Open Championship field proper.
Smith, 39, who has been the head professional at Woodcrest CC for the past 16 years, advanced into Sections for the second time. He will head to Purchase, N.Y., next.
Hornibrook, 25, Swedesboro, N.J., will be making his first appearance in Sectionals (Beallsville, Md. qualifier).