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Herman, Oppenheim earn co-medalist honors; Crawford sinks 40-foot birdie putt on 18th to clinch final spot at U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying at Canoe Brook CC in Summit, NJ

Rob Oppenheim (Mike Moretti/NJSGA)

Rob Oppenheim (Mike Moretti/NJSGA)

 

Six players can now drive on The Road to Oakmont.

Shell Houston Open champion James Herman of Palm City, Florida (67N-70S) and first-year PGA Tour player Rob Oppenheim of Orlando, Florida (67S-70N) earned co-medalist honors, shooting 2-under 137 in the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying 36-hole event at Canoe Brook Country Club (North and South Courses) in Summit, New Jersey.

Web.com Tour player Andy Pope of Orlando, Florida (72N-66S), two-time Metropolitan Golf Association player of the year Michael Miller of Brewster, New York (68N-70S), PGA Tour player Justin Hicks of Wellington, Florida (65S-73N) and amateur Christopher Crawford of Bensalem, Pennsylvania (65S-73N) each tied for third place, shooting a 6-under 138, to also advance to golf’s second major of the season.

Crawford, who just completed his collegiate career at Drexel University in Philadelphia, held off four other players at 5-under, each of which were patiently hoping and praying for a sudden-death playoff to occur, drained a 40-foot birdie putt to secure and earn the final spot to Oakmont.

After an errant tee shot on the par-5, 601-yard 18th hole (North Course), Crawford hit a recovery shot to the parallel 13th fairway and then hit his third shot over trees to 40 feet.

“That was pretty special. It’s a moment I’ll remember forever,” said a celebratory Crawford, who will be making his first U.S. Open appearance. “Oakmont is one of the most special places I’ve ever been in my life – it doesn’t matter if it’s just golf or anything, I’m not sure if you could pick a better place to play in an open than at Oakmont.”

Ironically those four players did play in a playoff for two alternate spots. Kevin Foley of Jupiter, Florida (by way of Somerville, New Jersey) birdied the third playoff hole (12th hole-North) and Pat Wilson of Andover, New Jersey parred the 12th to earn both alternate spots.

 

James Herman (Mike Moretti/NJSGA)

James Herman (Mike Moretti/NJSGA)

 

The 38-year-old Herman, a former assistant at Trump National in Bedminster who earned the most unlikely entry into The Masters in April by winning the Shell Houston Open, would have made the U.S. Open if he finished in the top 60 in the current World Rankings. He is currently 76th.

“I drove the ball really well this morning,” Herman said. “I got off to a good start and birdied the first hole, so that’s always a good feeling there. I put myself in position – I hit a lot of greens and gave myself a lot of birdie looks.” Herman made six birdies to just one bogey in the morning.

After a rough start of double-bogey, bogey in the afternoon, Herman settled in with two birdies and eagled the par-5 first hole as he made the turn to his final nine. He added one more birdie the rest of the way to seal his trip.

“It feels great,” Herman said. “Anytime you qualify for the national open, you have to have a smile on your face. I’m really looking forward to getting out to Oakmont.”

Oppenheim, who is playing his rookie season on the PGA TOUR after several years on the Web.com Tour, started with a 5-under 67 on the South Course. His round was propelled by four consecutive birdies on holes 6 through 9, plus an eagle on the par-5 15th.

“I played steady,” said Oppenheim, who tallied three birdies on the North Course in the afternoon. “I drove it pretty well and made putts when I had to. I was happy with the consistency of it. I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens.”

98 players (59 professional, 39 amateurs) competed at Canoe Brook, which has returned to the USGA Sectional Qualifying fold for the next three years, after hosting for the 14th time since 1980, highlighted by Michelle Wie’s attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open in 2006.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen finished in an eight-way tie for 16th place, shooting a 2-under 142 (72N-70S).

A total of 10 Sectional Qualifying events were held around the nation Monday to see who will survive and advance to the 116th U.S. Open Championship, which will be held for a record ninth time at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania Father’s Day Weekend on June 16 through June 19.

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New Jersey scores: Pat Wilson, Andover, 5-under (72N-67S–139); a-Trevor Randolph, Franklin Lakes (73S-69N–142); a-Luke Graboyes, Watchung, 2-under (70S-72N–142); Matthew Dubrowski, Bergenfield, 2-under (68S-74N–142); a-Gen Nagai, South Orange, even-par (72N-72S–144); David Quinn, Marlton, 2-over (72S-74N–146); Tyler Hall, Wayne, 4-over (71S-77N–148); a-James Mongey, Morristown, 5-over (71N-77S–148); a-John Pak, Scotch Plains, 5-over (73N-76S–149); Robert Linepensel, Washington, 6-over (77N-73S–150); a-Ryan Snouffer, Sparta, 5-over (73S-77N–150); Brent Studer, Manasquan, 8-over (79S-73N–152); William Hook, Hawthorne, 15-over (77S-87N–164); Brett Jones, Basking Ridge, WD (75N).

New York scores: Michael Miller, Brewster, 6-under (68N-70S–138); a-Stewart Hagestad, New York, 4-under (72S-68N–140); a-Gavin Hall, Pittsford, 3-under (73S-68N–141); Grant Sturgeon, Port Chester, 2-under (72N-70S–142); Rob Rittberger, Garden City, 1-under (71S-72N–143); Steve Scott, New City, even-par (70S-74N–144); a-Ethan Ng, New York, 1-over (76S-69N–145); a-Austin Nowak, Lancaster, 1-over (73S-72N–145); Matt Dobyns, Lake Success, 1-over (72S-73N–145); James Hazen, Miller Place, 1-over (72N-73S–145); a-Cameron Young, Scarborough, 1-over (71S-74N–145); Gregory Bisconti, South Salem, 2-over (77N-69S–146); Christopher Marinaro, East Norwich, 3-over (73S-74N–147); a-Kyle Brey, Farmingdale, 7-over (76N-75S–151); a-Tyler Cline, Tuxedo, 7-over (73N-78S–151); a-Daniel Griffiths, Binghamton, 8-over (79N-73S–152); a-James Nicholas, Scarsdale, 9-over (77S-76N–153); David Young, Briarcliff Manor, 9-over (75N-78S–153); a-Daniel Levin, New York, 13-over (83N-74S–157); a-Matthew Lowe, Farmingdale, WD (81N).

Pennsylvania scores: a-Christopher Crawford, Bensalem, 6-under (65S-73N–138); Andrew Turner, Elverson, 5-under (70N-69S–139); Rob McClellan, Butler, 1-under (71N-72S–143); a-Kyle Sterbinsky, Yardley, 2-over (76N-70S–146); a-Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh, 2-over (72N-74S–146); a-Darin Kowalski, Bethel Park, 2-over (72S-74N–146); Michael Little, Lansdale, 3-over (73S-74N–147); Devin Gee, Oakmont, 5-over (71N-78S–149); a-P.J. Acierno, Flourtown, 7-over (73N-78S–151); a-Zachary Herr, New Hope, 9-over (73S-80N–153); a-James Wilson, Orefield, 11-over (75N-80S–155).

N-North Course; S-South Course; a-amateur

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