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May 13, 2014

Vince Covello birdies No. 8 (par 4, 365 yards).

*Scorecards
*Photo gallery

Pro Covello goes low, heads U.S. Open Qualifier at Laurel Creek

  MT. LAUREL, N.J. — It’s safe to say that Vince Covello likes Laurel Creek Country Club. When the Golf Association of Philadelphia administered a U.S. Open Local Qualifier at the venue in 2009, he made the cut. History repeated itself Tuesday; Covello carded a 2-under-par 69 to earn medalist honors in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier again administered by GAP at Laurel Creek (par 71, 6,818 yards).

  He joins five others who advanced to Sectional qualifying. They include Mark Hill, an amateur out of Rolling Green Golf Club; Brian Hollins of Fairless Hills, Pa., an assistant professional at Trenton Country Club; mini-tour professionals Justin Martinson of Avondale, Pa.; Rex Riley of Short Hills, N.J. and Michael Tobiason, Jr., a touring pro from Wilmington, Del.

  The 114th U.S. Open will be held June 12-15 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club and Pinehurst No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.

  “It’s a little bit of luck at Laurel Creek,” Covello, 31, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., said. “It was a test of patience out there. The putts weren’t really going in, but I made birdies on the last two holes to shoot 2 under.”

  Indeed he did. Covello, who started on No. 10, smacked a sand wedge 95 yards to 15 feet on No. 8 (par 4, 365 yards) for birdie. He hammered a 3-wood 235 yards to the back of the No. 9 (par 5, 557 yards) green and lagged a 65-footer into kick-in territory. A modest outward tour made Covello relevant on the leaderboard. He carded a bogey on No. 12 (par 4, 447 yards) after flying the flagstick from 170 yards. On the par 5, 520-yard 15th hole, Covello nearly reached the green in two strokes with a hybrid from 240 yards. A delicate chip resulted in a four-footer for birdie. He registered 15 greens in regulation on the day.

  Covello played on the Web.com Tour in 2013. He hopes to return full-time this year.

  “I’ve been doing all of the Monday qualifiers for the Web.com Tour, trying to get my job back,” he said. “I’ll take anything I can get myself into.”

  Covello, a Havertown, Pa. native and former Llanerch Country Club member, returns to the area each summer to visit with friends and family. He was runner-up in the 2000 GAP Junior Boys’ Championship. This marks Covello’s fourth U.S. Sectional qualifying appearance. The Episcopal Academy alum will head to Woodmont Country Club June 2.

  Baseball once brought out Hill’s competitive desire. An injury forced an early exit from the sport and thus brought golf into the forefront. Hill joined Rolling Green in April 2013, established a handicap index and lowered it enough to meet the U.S. Open eligibility requirements this year.

  He met the qualifying cut Tuesday, carding a 1-under-par 70 to advance. He will join Covello at Woodmont for Sectionals.

Mark Hill

  “I wanted to do something competitive again since I don’t play baseball anymore. I figured it’d be fun to do something like [the U.S. Open],” Hill, 26, of Media, Pa., said. “I played it the GAP Team Matches in the past month. It was fun. I figured might as well go out and let it rip.”

  Three outward birdies allowed Hill to climb up the leaderboard. He trickled in a 15-footer on the par 3, 165-yard No. 3 after leaving a choke-down 7-iron above the hole location. Hill hit an upwind 7-iron 180 yards to 10 feet on No. 6 (par 4, 438 yards). He converted a right-to-left breaker from 25 feet on the difficult No. 9 (par 5, 557 yards) following a short wedge set-up. Hill moved to 3 under following a 3 on the par 4, 390-yard 13th hole, where he executed a chip-in from a bank above the right bunker.

  Hill played baseball at George Mason University before moving onto the Rockland Boulders, an Independent League team, after graduation. He currently works in a law office and offers baseball instruction. Hill plans to play competitive golf this summer, schedule-permitting.

  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 150 Member Clubs and 57,000 individual members are spread across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. As Philadelphia’s Most Trusted Source of Golf Information, the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.

Qualifiers

Name, city

Scores

Vince Covello, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

69

(a) Mark Hill, Media, Pa.

70

Michael Tobiason, Jr., Wilmington, Del.

71

Brian Hollins, Fairless Hills, Pa.

71

Rex Riley, Short Hills, N.J.

71

Justin Martinson, Avondale, Pa.

71

Alternates (in order)

*Bertus Wessels, Philadelphia, Pa.

72

*(a) Christian Dolan, Islip, N.Y.

72

Failed to qualify

David Sanders, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

72

James Hazen, Miller Place, N.Y.

72

(a) Michael McDermott, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

72

Mark Miller, Bristol, Pa.

73

(a) Kevin Kramarski, Palmyra, N.J.

73

(a) Matthew Crescenzo, Cheltenham, Pa.

73

(a) David West, Exton, Pa.

73

Jason Panter, Medford, N.J.

73

(a) Michael Davis, Newtown Square, Pa.

73

(a) Oliver White, Lower Gwynedd, Pa.

73

(a) Brandon Dalinka, Newtown, Pa.

74

(a) Kyle Sterbinsky, Yardley, Pa.

74

Billy Stewart, Devon, Pa.

74

(a) Michael Korcuba, Sicklerville, N.J.

74

David McNabb, Newark, Del.

74

(a) Ryan Siegler, West Windsor, N.J.

74

John DiMarco, Cherry Hill, N.J.

75

Seth Hirschhorn, Ocean Township, N.J.

75

Jonathan Rusk, Yardley, Pa.

75

Chad Wilfong, Charlotte, N.C.,

75

Mark Summerville, Jupiter, Fla.

76

(a) Carey Bina, Winston Salem, N.C.

76

(a) Joseph Russo, Sicklerville, N.J.

76

David Quinn, Marlton, N.J.

76

Scott Reilly, Gladwyne, Pa.

76

Robert Hennefer, Cherry Hill, N.J.

76

(a) Evan Galbreath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

76

Connor Reilly, Lillington, N.C.

77

(a) William Tighe, Stewartsville, N.J.

77

Nick Gorman, Mt. Holly, N.J.

77

Chris McDermott, Mount Plains, N.J.

77

(a) Alex Blickle, Wernersville, Pa.

77

(a) Ben Cooley, Rydal, Pa.

77

(a) Jack Russell, Oreland, Pa.

78

(a) Brock Kovach, Wyomissing, Pa.

78

(a) Raleigh Chapin, Doylestown, Pa.

78

(a) Eric Slawter, Wayne, Pa.

78

(a) Zachary Falone, Mickleton, N.J.

78

(a) Kurt Brey, Farmingdale, N.Y.

78

(a) Paul Yun, Radnor, Pa.

79

(a) Johan Van Schalkwyk, Haddon Heights, N.J.

79

(a) Bob Dyer, Easton, Pa.

79

(a) Brian Gillespie, Wayne, Pa.

79

(a) Travis Sterrett, Middletown, Del.

79

(a) Robert Wolfers, Newtown Square, Pa.

79

(a) Ambrose Abbracciamento, Robbinsville, N.J.

79

(a) Ryan Walker, St. Davids, Pa.

79

Jon Steyn, Conshohocken, Pa.

79

Joshua Rackley, Wilmington, N.C.

79

(a) Nelson Hargrove, Haverford, Pa.

79

Thomas Parham, Lakewood, N.J.

79

(a) Steve Oh, Philadelphia, Pa.

79

Nathan Fry, Bethlehem, Pa.

79

Joey Bonargo, Mechanicsville, Pa.

80

(a) Justin Elwell, Sewell, N.J.

80

(a) Russell Hill, Bordentown, N.J.

80

(a) Kevin Conners, Downingtown, Pa.

80

(a) Joey Russo, Sewell, N.J.

80

(a) Grant Skyllas, Wyomissing, Pa.

80

Neil Maurer, Ocean View, Del.

81

(a) Charles Gonet-Sedillot, Winston Salem, N.C.

81

(a) Cole Berman, Rosemont, Pa.

81

 (a) Jake Van Arkel, Haverford, Pa.

81

(a) Bin Kwon, Marlton, N.J.

81

Glenn Hansen, Yardley, Pa.

81

Gregory Matthias, Wilmington, Del.

82

Chris Hoyle, Drexel Hill, Pa.

82

(a) Alexander Kane, Unionville, Pa.

82

(a) Jeremy Nevius, Metuchen, N.J.

82

Michael Little, Lansdale, Pa.

82

Mike Dynda, Blue Bell, Pa.

82

(a) Zachary Melnick, Blue Bell, Pa.

83

(a) Cory Siegfried, Wayne Pa.

83

Stephen Sieracki, Cherry Hill, N.J.

83

(a) Jaheen Maru, Allentown, Pa.

84

Joseph Kogelman, Phoenixville, Pa.

84

Peter Clarke, Telford, Pa.

84

(a) Phillip Villari, Jr., Riverton, N.J.

84

(a) Michael Marotta, Freehold, N.J.

84

(a) Sam Gallen, Wyomissing, Pa.

84

(a) Alejandro Velez, Harleysville, Pa.

85

Dean Halterman, Oakhurst, N.J.

85

Hugh Reilly, Willow Grove, Pa.

85

John Bierkan, Vero Beach, Fla.

85

(a) Michael Bliss, Newtown, Pa.

85

(a) Justin Harris, Carlisle, Mass.

85

Anthony Kazlauslas, Warrington, Pa.

85

(a) Kyle Henofer, Sellersville, Pa.

86

(a) Cody Fitzpatrick, Warminster, Pa.

86

Steve Ashworth, Brookhaven, Pa.

86

(a) RJ Wren, Morgantown, Pa.

86

(a) David Sim, Media, Pa.

88

(a) David Pompey, Clarks Summit, Pa.

89

(a) Andrew Carber, Blue Bell, Pa.

89

(a) Phil Formica, Washington Crossing, Pa.

89

(a) Ted Brennan, Newtown Square, Pa.

90

(a) Eric Naccarelli, Williamstown, N.J.

90

Brad Skupaka, Maple Shade, N.J.

91

(a) Trey Swanson, West Chester, Pa.

96

(a) Brian Bak, Nutley, N.J.

NS

(a) Nicholas Cappetti, Burlington Township, N.J.

WD

(a) Robert Lax, Hackensack, N.J.

WD

(a) Christopher Fuga, Phoenixville, Pa.

WD

(a) Patrick Simmons, Hockessin, Del.

WD

Amory Davis, Charleston, S.C.

WD

(a) - amateur; * - determined in playoff

NS - no show; WD - withdrawal

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