PORTLAND, ORE (Monday, May 16) – Amateurs bested their professional counterparts taking the first three of five places at the first stage of U.S. Open qualifying. Played in U.S. Open quality rough, the 18-Hole qualifying round was played on the 6,626-yard par-72 layout at Riverside Golf & CC in early intermittent light rain followed by heavier rain later in the day. Riverside was one of 107 local qualifying sites.
Carl Johnsen of Gresham, Ore., a member of Riverside’s victorious OGA Team Championship team, took advantage of his home course knowledge to post the low score of the day at 3-under par 36-33—69 earning medalist honors and a trip to the next qualifying stage for the U.S. Open at the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge in Snoqualmie, Wash. on June 6.
“I understand the greens, so I knew where not to hit it in order to take advantage of each pin position,” commented Johnsen. “I’ve made this trip [to sectionals] twice before, but never before as medalist, so hopefully the third time will be a charm. Just the thought of making it past Sectionals to play for this National Championship gives me chills. It’s would be a dream come true that I’ve thought about for many years.”
Also advancing from a field of 82 players (46 Amateurs and 37 Professionals) were amateurs Alex Williams of Vancouver, Wash., the 2003 Oregon Junior Match Play Champion, with 34-36—70 and Bill Winter, Portland, Ore. with a score of 37-33—70. Rounding out the field of qualifiers were professionals Robert Garza of Bend, Ore. and David Lebeck, of Beaverton, Ore. who both shot 1-under par 71.
Under clear conditions, a six-player sudden death playoff among players shooting even-par 72 determined four alternate spots. One of two amateurs in the playoff, OSU Freshman Vincent Johnson, was eliminated with a bogey on the first hole. Professional Derek Croskrey of Portland, Ore. did not show up for the playoff.
Alternates in order were professionals Jeff Brown of Portland, Ore., Brian Hughes of Centralia, Wash. (2003 OGA Player of the Year), Jeff Brown of Portland, Ore., amateur Brad Simpson of Vancouver, Wash., and David Brown of Mesa, Ariz.
As the local representative of the United States Golf Association, the Oregon Golf Association (OGA) conducted Local Qualifying for the 105th United States Open Championship
The 105th U.S. Open will be held at Pinehurst Resort, in Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina on June 16-19, 2005. The United States Golf Association accepted a record 9,048 entries, eclipsing the old mark of 8,726 for the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. The Championship is open top any professional golfer, and any amateur golfers with an official USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4.