DeTemple, Nocar top U.S. Senior Open Championship QualifierMT. LAUREL, N.J.â€“Peter DeTemple and David Nocar, a pair of Maryland amateurs, shared medalist honors in the U.S. Senior Open Championship Qualifier on Tuesday at Laurel Creek Country Club (par 71, 6,794 yards). DeTemple of Callaway, Md. and Nocar of Millersville, Md., both carded solid 3-under-par 68s to top the 88-player field. Bob Lennon, a teaching professional at Wilmington Country Club, earned the third and final qualifying position with a 2-under finish.
The 33rd U.S. Senior Open Championship is set for July 12-15 at Indianwood Golf & Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich. This U.S. Senior Open Qualifier is one of 34 held across the country.
The two medalists present an interesting juxtaposition of each other.
The U.S. Senior Open will be Nocarâ€™s 10th USGA Championship. He has previously qualified multiple times for the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Junior and U.S. Mid.-Am. and has been a Maryland State Team selection on two occasions. For DeTemple, the trip to Michigan will mark his first national experience.
â€śIâ€™ve been waiting 50 years for this,â€ť said DeTemple, a member at Cedar Point Golf Course who turns 50 tomorrow. â€śI didnâ€™t sleep at all last night. I was so nervous on the first tee, I almost had to go behind the tent because I was going to be sick.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s the reason I kind of got back into golf again,â€ť said Nocar, 50, a member of Chartwell Golf & Country Club. â€śI was turning 50 and knew I wasnâ€™t going to have to play the flat bellies anymore. I feel like Iâ€™ve played pretty well throughout my life at the many different levels. This is a nice way to start playing some more.â€ť
DeTemple punched his ticket to the Senior Open in a three-hole stretch midway through the front-nine.
He birdied No. 4 (par 4, 405 yards) with a pitching wedge from 138 yards that stopped 12 feet away; dropped an eagle on No. 5 (par 5, 513 yards) after ripping a 5-iron from 210 yards to 20 feet and netted a circle birdie on No. 6 (par 4, 451 yards) when he landed his gap wedge from 105 yards to 10 feet. That moved the public golfer DeTemple to 4 under.
â€śAfter that I was just trying to think about one shot at a time,â€ť said DeTemple. â€śIâ€™ve never played in one of these. Iâ€™m playing against pros. I think they are going lower than me.â€ť A bogey on No. 7 (par 3, 215 yards) â€“ one of his two in the round, both as a result of three putts â€“ temporarily halted his push before he registered a birdie on No. 11 (par 4, 400 yards) with a wedge from 90 yards that stopped 10 feet from the hole to move back to 4 under. His lone blemish in the last seven holes was a bogey on No. 15 (par 5, 520 yards) after finding the greenside fringe in two.
â€śThis is a dream come true,â€ť said DeTemple, who works for Great Mills Trading Post, an excavating company. â€śI canâ€™t stop smiling.â€ť
Nocarâ€™s scorecard wasnâ€™t as colorful but just as effective.
Starting on the back nine, he birdied Nos. 13 (par 4, 389 yards) and 16 (par 4, 410 yards) to make the turn at 2 under. Nocar dropped a 9-iron from 135 yards to eight feet on No. 13 and stopped a wedge from 125 yards to 12 feet on No. 16. He bogeyed No. 1 (par 4, 403 yards) when his drive found the right rough, but rallied nicely with a 162-yard, 8-iron on No. 6 (par 4, 451 yards) to 15 feet. He finished with a strong two-putt birdie on No. 9 (par 5, 555 yards).
â€śIt was all nerves on that first hole,â€ť said Nocar who owns Federated Lighting, a lighting and controls equipment company. â€śThe last eight holes I played really, really well. Two under was about as high as I could have shot. I hit a lot of shots close and missed the putts. It was a good solid round.â€ť
Nocar was the 2002 Maryland State Amateur Champion.
Lennon, who has had success at Laurel Creek in the Philadelphia Section of the PGAâ€™s Delaware Valley Open in the past, too, will be making his first trip to a USGA event.
â€śIt is a dream come true,â€ť said Lennon, 52, of Greenville, Del. â€śIt is an unbelievable honor.â€ť
Lennon won the Senior Division of the DVO at Laurel Creek two years ago.
Entries for the U.S. Senior Open are open to professional golfers and amateur golfers who have reached their 50th birthday by July 12, 2012. Amateurs must have an up-to-date menâ€™s Handicap Index not exceeding 3.4 under the USGA Handicap System.
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 145 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphiaâ€™s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphiaâ€™s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.