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Plenty of NCGA Connections at Monday’s U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier

Plenty of NCGA Connections at Monday’s U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier

May 28, 2014

What will be the only U.S. Open Sectional qualifier in the Golden State tees off Monday morning at two of Northern California’s best venues– Lake Merced Golf Club and The Olympic Club (Ocean Course).

Known as ‘Golf’s Longest Day’, there’ll be 110 players in the field in the 36-hole tournament. And they’ll all be fighting for a precious ticket to the championship proper, set for June 12-15 at Pinehurst.

Among the lot will be the big name professionals. Guys like Jason Gore (winner of the 2005 PGA Tour 84 Lumber Classic), Alex Cejka (4th at 2003 PGA Championship) and Kevin Sutherland (winner of the 2002 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship).

There’ll also be a lengthy list of players with strong ties to the NCGA. Here’s a breakdown of some the amateurs (and one former am) to keep an eye on come Monday’s action.

-Cody Blick (Danville): A sophomore at San Jose State, Blick was recently named to the PING All-West Region Team. During the season, he averaged 70.76 strokes per round in 10 tournaments. In last year’s NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship, he’d reach the Round of 16.

-Matt Pinizzotto (Salinas): Pinizzotto played his way into last year’s U.S. Amateur in Brookline, Mass. after shooting a medalist-earning 9-under 135 in a 36-hole qualifier at Castlewood CC in Pleasanton. He also played in the 2011 U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills. Pinizzotto is exempt for this year’s NCGA Amateur Match Play Championship.

-Casey Boyns (Monterey): A member of the California Golf Hall of Fame, Boyns is a two-time winner of State Amateur Championship and has racked up over 13 NCGA titles over two decades, seven of which are different. The longtime caddie at Pebble Beach Golf Links has been named NCGA Player of the Year four times (1987, 1989, 1996, 2007).

-Cameron Rappleye (Elk Grove): Now a professional, in 2012 Rappleye won the Sacramento County Stroke Play Championship. In December 2011, he finished T-4 at the Christmas Classic at Del Monte GC in Monterey. His instructor is Donny Levin, who is the father of NCGA great Spencer Levin, who now plays on the PGA Tour.

-Ryan Gronlund (Pleasanton): A senior in high school, Gronlund has honed his game competing on the Junior Tour of Northern California circuit. This fall, he’ll begin playing at Southern Methodist University. Earlier this year, he reached the quarterfinals at the San Francisco City Amateur.

-Luke Vivolo (Carmel): A junior at UC Davis, Vivolo won the Tour Championship at Quail Lodge back in December. While at Carmel High, he helped the team win league titles in both 2008 and 2009. He competed in last year’s U.S. Amateur Championship.

-Cory McElyea (Santa Cruz): A senior at the University of San Francisco, McElyea had summer to remember in 2013. He competed in the U.S. Open (shooting 19-over) and then returned home to win the California State Amateur Championship. A week after that, he won the Monterey City Amateur at Del Monte GC. McElyea plans on turning pro later this year.

The morning rounds will begin at 7 a.m. at both Lake Merced GC and The Olympic Club (Ocean Course). The field will also be split at both courses for the afternoon round. Should a playoff be necessary, it will be held at Lake Merced GC.

Players in the field will not know how many spots in the U.S. Open are available until they tee off Monday morning.

-Jerry Stewart

Author: Jerry Stewart

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