LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Daniel Levin, who just completed his sophomore season with the Bucknell men's golf team, has made it through to sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. Playing in the local qualifier at New Haven (Conn.) Country Club on Monday, Levin overcame windy conditions to shoot a 1-over-par 71.
Professional Blake Morris, a former standout at Ole Miss, was the medalist with an even-par 70 after making a birdie on the final hole to win by one shot. Levin was one of three amateurs in a six-way tie for second, and the top seven finishers all advanced to sectional qualifying, which is the second and final level of qualifying prior to the U.S. Open. Levin will next play on June 6 at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, New Jersey.
Also moving on out of New Haven were amateurs Evan Grenus, the Connecticut Amateur champion, and Stephen Colodny, a Franklin & Marshall junior who recently finished fourth at the NCAA Division III Championship. Professionals Evan Beirne, Billy Street and Matt Doyle also advanced after shooting 71. Brian Hughes and Cody Paladino emerged from an eight-man playoff to capture the two alternate spots.
More than 100 golfers teed it up at New Haven CC on Monday. Levin outplayed nearly all of them, compiling two birdies and only three bogeys to go with 13 pars in the tricky weather conditions.
New Haven has proven to be a hotbed for Levin and the Bison this spring. On Apr. 16, Bucknell won the team title at the Yale Invitational at Yale University CC. Levin shot 73-77 to finish T-12th.
Canoe Brook will be hosting a sectional qualifier for the 14th time since 1980. The course was in the national spotlight in 2006, when then-teenager Michelle Wie fell short in her quest to qualify for the men's U.S. Open.
Professionals and amateurs with a handicap index of 1.4 or lower may attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open. Most start in the local qualifiers, which are held in all 50 states and 72 foreign countries (Bucknell Golf Club has hosted several local qualifiers in the past). This year there were more than 9,000 entrants in local qualifiers. Along with 430 established players who are exempt from local qualifying and another 50 who are fully exempt into the U.S. Open, there will be about 1,000 players competing in sectionals at 10 sites in the United States and one each in Japan and England. Sectionals are one-day, 36-hole tournaments, with the number of U.S. Open qualifiers determined by the size and strength of each sectional field.
Last year, 22 players who started in local qualifiers grabbed one of the 156 spots in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. The 2016 U.S. Open returns to Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh on June 16-19.