SHAVERTOWN — Huntsville Golf Club proved to be too much of a challenge for local golfers in the 2016 United States Open Local Qualifying event held Wednesday.
The 52-golfer field featured seven locals trying their luck at reaching the U.S. Open, which is scheduled for the third week of June at Oakmont Country Club outside of Pittsburgh. It was a professional player from Osceola, Travis Howe, that came home with medalist honors.
No local golfers qualified for the the next stage of the 10,000-entry tournament.
Tyler McGarry, a 2014 Pittston Area graduate, was coming off Rookie of the Year honors in the Middle Atlantic Conference and a second-place finish for Misericordia University.He was playing in his first local qualifer.
McGarry said he struggled with his putter most of the day, but got off to a fast start on the 518-yard, par-5 first hole.
After watching two players before him hit less-than-desirable tee shots, McGarry was a little anxious on the tee of his first local qualifying event. He proceeded to stripe his drive and reach the green in two. The Misericordia University freshman two-putt opened his round with a birdie.
“I was a little nervous over that first tee shot,” he said. “Something like this boosts your confidence and I think I played a solid round.”
McGarry finished with an 84.
“I played a lot better than my score,” he said. “I had two bad holes and I struggled to putt.”
The event at Huntsville was an opportunity for three golfers to qualify for sectionals. A win at the sectional events will guarantee those players a spot in the U.S. Open. In all, 23 amateurs and 29 professionals teed it up at Huntsville.
Matthews first alternate at Silver Creek
Brandon Matthews, Dupont, who announced he will be turning professional this fall, competed in the local qualifier at Silver Creek Country Club in Hellertown on Monday. He took the first alternate spot after winning a playoff hole following his five-over 76.
Matthews bogeyed his final two holes. Pars on one of those two holes would have moved him on to sectionals for the first time since 2014, when he was an alternate for the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club. As an alternate, Matthews still has a chance to be selected to the sectional qualifer if a player should drop out.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick