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Touring pro Brown tops U.S. Open Local Qualifer;
Barron lone amateur to advance to Sectionals

  MT. LAUREL, N.J.–Derek Brown of Rural Hall, N.C., a professional on the Tar Heel Tour, carded a 3-under-par 68 at Laurel Creek CC (par 71, 6,892 yards) Tuesday to earn medalist honors in a local qualifier for the U.S. Open Championship.

  “I didn’t want to miss the first day up here,” he said. “I thought these guys might have been a little rusty from not getting to play as much.”

  Brown, 27, topped the list of seven players advancing from Laurel Creek to Sectional qualifying set for May 25-June 8 at multiple nationwide sites. He felt that practice made perfect at Laurel Creek.

  “I’ve been working on swing training. I hadn’t been hitting my driver real well, but I hit it well today,” Brown, 27, said. “Other than making putts, I just drove the ball really well.”

  Brown carded birdies on Nos. 2 (par 4, 375 yards), 5 (par 5, 510 yards), 7 (par 3, 210 yards), 9 (par 5, 550 yards) and 17 (par 3, 221 yards). On No. 7, he used a 4-iron off the tee and hit it to about 12 feet. On a slender No. 17 that features immediate tree lines on both sides, he hit 3-iron off the tee that landed about 15-feet from the hole.

  “I was just trying to get it on the front of the green,” Brown said.

  Brown has advanced to Sectionals three times. He will head to Atlanta, Ga. for the next stage of qualifying. Brown made the 2005 U.S. Open field, where he fell short of the cut by one stroke.

  “I’m going to keep plugging along,” Brown said.

  In addition to Brown, also moving onto Sectionals were: Vince Covello, a professional on the Gateway Tour in Florida; Peter Barron, III, an amateur out of Stone Harbor GC; John Allen of Media, Pa., the head professional at Sunnybrook GC; Christian Bartolacci, an assistant professional at Jericho National GC; and professionals Joey Bonargo of Mechanicsville, Pa. and Eric Dovre of Mays Landing, N.J.

  Covello, of Ponte Vedra, Fla., returned to his roots, so to speak, to compete in Tuesday’s qualifier. He grew up in the Philadelphia area and played out of Llanerch CC.

  “It’s nice to get back home and see some of the old familiar faces,” he said. “I played Llanerch a few times since I’ve been back. It’s really nice over there.”

  Covello, 26, fired birdies on Nos. 4 (par 4, 407 yards), 5, 14 (par 3, 169 yards), 16 (par 4, 439 yards) and 18 (par 4, 445 yards).

  “I hit a few good shoots onto the green. It was nice to have some easy birdie putts,” he said. “I played fairly well. I had a few bad swings that cost me a few doubles, but other than that, I was solid,” he said. “I kept it nice and steady for the most part.”

  Covello carded double bogeys on Nos. 1 (par 4, 412 yards) and 17. He also made a crucial par-save on No. 6 (par 4, 452 yards).

  “I drove it on the lip of a bunker and dropped it back onto the fairway and got up and down,” he said. “It was a good save.”

  This is the third Sectionals appearance for Covello. He will head back to Florida for the next stage of qualifying. Covello has never played in the U.S. Open.

  “I’d love to this year, though,” he said.

  Barron, 33, the only amateur to advance from this qualifier, will be making his first appearance in Sectionals when he heads to Purchase, N.Y. Prior to Tuesday, it had been eight years since Barron participated in a U.S. Open Qualifier.

  “I know the competition is always really good,” he said. “If I’m hitting the ball well early in the season, then I’ll try to compete.”

  And Barron, of Mays Landing, N.J., feels that he’s been hitting well so far this year. Last week, he finished second in the New Jersey State Golf Association’s Middle-Amateur Championship. His hot steak continued at Laurel Creek CC Tuesday as he finished 1-over par.

  “I’ve been playing pretty well,” Barron said. “It feels great to qualify. I had high expectations.”

  Barron’s one “bad hole” was a double bogey on No. 17, where he hit 4-iron off the tee over 200 yards and landed in hazard on the right side.

  “I didn’t put a good swing on it. I wasn’t committed to it,” he said. “I just kind of accelerated on it.”

  A second USGA U.S. Open Qualifier will be held May 18 at Cavaliers CC.

  This year’s U.S. Open Championship is set for June 15-21 at Bethpage State Park (Black Course) in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Qualifiers

Name

City, state

Score

Derek Brown

Rural Hall,  NC

68

Vince Covello

Ponte Vedra,  FL

70

*Christian Bartolacci

Langhorne,  PA

72

*Eric Dovre

Mays Landing,  NJ

72

*Joey Bonargo

Mechanicsville,  PA

72

*John Allen

Media,  PA

72

*(a) Peter Barron, III

Mays Landing,  NJ

72

 

Alternates (in order)

*(a) Matt Raudenbush

Pine Valley,  NJ

72

*Jonathan Rusk

Washington Crossing,  PA

72

 

Failed to qualify

(a) Christopher Gold

Haddonfield,  NJ

73

Logan Terry

Plymouth Meeting,  PA

73

Travis Deibert

Doylestown,  PA

73

Chris Gallagher

West Chester,  PA

74

David Quinn

Marlton,  NJ

74

(a) Jim Rattigan

Orwigsburg,  PA

74

(a) Justin Martinson

Avondale,  PA

74

(a) Michael Brown

Cheltenham,  PA

74

Seth Hirschhorn

Edison,  NJ

74

(a) Thomas Gramigna

Haddonfield,  NJ

74

(a) Alexander Maguire

Philadelphia,  PA

75

Brian Hollins

Riverside,  NJ

75

Christopher Gray

Newark,  DE

75

(a) Michael Kania

Haverford,  PA

75

(a) Robert Galbreath, Jr.

Huntingdon Valley,  PA

75

Robert Hornibrook

Swedesboro,  NJ

75

Zack Mullock

Cape May,  NJ

75

Chris McDermott

West Orange,  NJ

76

(a) David Sanders

Mt. Laurel,  NJ

76

(a) David West

Downingtown,  PA

76

(a) Juan Pablo Candela

Princeton,  NJ

76

Michael Ladden

Coatesville,  PA

76

Michael Lanzetta

East Windsor,  NJ

76

Stephen Arnold

Langhorne,  PA

76

(a) Warren Taylor

Newtown,  PA

76

(a) Ajai Sirohi

Princeton,  NJ

77

(a) Brett Falkoff

Lafayette Hill,  PA

77

(a) David Shields

Erdenheim, PA

77

Mark Parson

Mays Landing,  NJ

77

(a) Matthew Teesdale

Maple Glen,  PA

77

(a) Michael Paduano

Shrewsbury,  NJ

77

Rick Hughart

Haddonfield,  NJ

77

(a) Connor McNicholas

Ambler,  PA

78

(a) Geoffrey Cooper

Philadelphia,  PA

78

John Dimarco

Cherry Hill,  NJ

78

(a) Liam Friedman

Lackawanna,  NY

78

Terry Hertzog

Lititz,  PA

78

(a) Adz Kozlowski

Philadelphia,  PA

79

(a) Christopher Ault

Yardley,  PA

79

(a) Cory Siegfried

Villanova,  PA

79

Marc Ross

Philadelphia,  PA

79

Michael Bennett

Jordan,  NY

79

(a) Michael Guli

Stirling, NJ

79

Paul Gagliardi

Palm Beach Gardens,  FL

79

Chad Moore

Egg Harbor City,  NJ

80

George Frake, II

Medford,  NJ

80

Kevin Melrath

Horsham,  PA

80

Mark Anderson

Media,  PA

80

(a) Mark Walker

Marlton,  NJ

80

Michael Little

North Wales,  PA

80

(a) Tom Shin

Moorestown,  NJ

80

(a) Bradley Roberts

Mount Laurel,  NJ

81

Cavan Birmingham

Maple Shade,  NJ

81

(a) Eric Salazar

Carmichael,  CA

81

(a) Eugene Milner

Wilmington,  DE

81

(a) Lance Oberparleiter

Blenheim,  NJ

81

Paul Clemente

Freehold,  NJ

81

(a) Stephen McIntyre

Glenmoore,  PA

81

(a) Stephen Seiden

Chadds Ford,  PA

81

Dan Hoban

Cherry Hill,  NJ

82

Glen Gardner

Sicklerville,  NJ

82

James Garton

Doylestown,  PA

82

(a) Tom Dicinti

Voorhees,  NJ

82

Anthony Napoletano

Springfield,  PA

83

Eric Figueroa

Kennett Square,  PA

83

(a) Eric Schmehl

Shamong, NJ

83

(a) James Kusant

Stockton,  NJ

83

Sean Driscoll

Sewell,  NJ

83

Billy Mullen

Jeffersonville,  PA

84

(a) Blayze DiPasquale

Richboro,  PA

84

(a) Erik Thorn

Cherry Hill,  NJ

84

(a) Greg Verde

Wayne,  PA

84

Jimmy Baer

Ardsley,  PA

84

(a) Joshua Feldschneider

Delran,  NJ

84

(a) Alexander Hicks

Cape May Court House,  NJ

85

David Elliott

Doylestown,  PA

85

P.J. Solley

Philadelphia,  PA

85

Eric Galm

Bensalem,  PA

86

(r) Jason Bataille

South Plainfield,  NJ

86

John Kondash

Roebling,  NJ

86

(a) Kenneth Matt

Springhouse,  PA

86

(a) Matthew Crescenzo

Cheltenham,  PA

86

Ralph Viola

Cherry Hill,  NJ

86

Michael Sullivan

Norristown,  PA

87

Hugh Reilly

Willow Grove,  PA

89

(a) Lynn Kilduff

Kingston,  PA

90

(a) Harry Gianetti

Far Hills,  NJ

91

(a) Joseph Brady

Ridgefield Park,  NJ

98

Christopher Cahill

Beachwood,  NJ

DQ

(a) Drew Maliniak

Collierville,  TN

DQ

Frank Hesson

Marlton,  NJ

DQ

(a) Jose Luis Centurion

Philadelphia,  PA

DQ

(a) Matthew Shevlin

Drexel Hill,  PA

DQ

(a) Michael Brosh

Vineland,  NJ

DQ

(a) Cody Sumpter

Neshanic Station,  NJ

NS

(a) Matthew Serata

Bridgeton,  NJ

NS

(a) Kevin Genuardi

Lower Gwynedd,  PA

WD

Thomas Parham

Lakewood,  NJ

WD

 

(a)-amatuer; (r)-reinstated amateur

DQ-disqualification; NS-no show; WD-withdrawal

 

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