[리서치페이퍼=Giselle Rances 기자]
Emmett Oh fired a 7-under 65, advanced to the final stage of qualifying for the 2017 U.S.Open and then buckled up for the marathon drive from Houston back home to Calgary.
So yeah, he's had a bit of time — actually, a lot of time — to ponder the possibility of earning a tee-time at the PGA Tour's second major of the season.
"I just had 30 hours of open road in front of me after I qualified.I didn't really actually think about it until later on the drive, but then I was like, 'If I play great at the sectional, it's the U.S.Open.That would be amazing,' " Oh said. "But it's been sort of easy to reel myself back in because I know how difficult it is at the sectional.Everybody is basically showing up hoping to get hot.If it's my day, then it's my day."
Monday is the big day for hundreds of U.S.Open hopefuls, with 10 sectional events scattered across the U.S.The top finishers at the 36-hole play-ins will punch a ticket to Erin Hills.
Oh, who just completed his senior campaign with the University of Houston Cougars and graduated with a double-major in accounting and finance, will be shooting for success at a sectional in Tacoma, Wash.
Calgary's Aaron Crawford (Pinebrook) and Wes Heffernan (Silver Springs) are also in the field at that same site, while Crossfield's Patrick Murphy (Glencoe) will try to advance through the final stage of qualifying in Newport Beach, Calif.
A four-time winner on what was formerly known as the Canadian Tour and now a teaching professional at the Golf Canada Calgary Centre, Heffernan has twice survived the gruelling entrance exam, teeing it up at the U.S.Open in 2001 at Southern Hills and a decade later at Congressional.
The others have only watched majors on TV.
"In the past year, I've played against two guys who have played in the U.S.Open, a couple of guys who have played in the British Open and two who have played in the Masters," said the 20-year-old Murphy, a sophomore on the UCLA Bruins golf squad. "So for me to have a chance, it's not too unrealistic anymore.This is something people do.Hopefully, I can go out and do it.Obviously, it's called golf's longest day for a reason, but I'm excited."
A longtime member at Bearspaw, Oh proved at a local qualifier in Houston that he can dive deep below par.
He made an ace on the 208-yard third assignment, another eagle on No. 4 and was 7-under through eight holes that day, admittedly thinking briefly about a run at 59 before settling for a course-record 65 at River Oaks Country Club.
"I know that I have to show up and play as well as I did at the local, and do it twice because it's 36 holes at sectionals," Oh said. "In these things, there is no playing defence.There is no hoping that par is going to be good enough.You're trying to make as many birdies as you can.You're just trying to birdie more than anybody else in the field."
BEST IN CLASS
Calgary's Evan Holmes and Kat Kennedy of Okotoks capped their post-secondary golf careers at the top of the class.
Both standouts for the UBC Thunderbirds, Holmes (Earl Grey/Glencoe) and Kennedy (Highwood) won the individual titles last week at the 2017 Canadian University/College Championship in Barrie, Ont.
The 22-year-old Kennedy repeated as the female champ at the national showdown, leading wire-to-wire in a 15-stroke romp.She also paced the Thunderbirds to a second consecutive team crown.
"It feels amazing to end my last tournament of my university career on a high note and with a great team," Kennedy said.
The reigning king at the Alberta Amateur, the 22-year-old Holmes finished five shots clear of the closest competition among the men.
"With all the hard work that's gone into the last four years, it just feels good to finish with a win," he said. "It's unfortunate that we couldn't get the team title to make it even sweeter."
Women's Golf Day is Tuesday, and it's not too late to join the fun, with local events planned at Blue Devil, Crystal Ridge, Golf Canada Centre, Lynx Ridge and Wintergreen.For full details, including pricing and availability, check out womensgolfday.com … The duo of general manager/executive pro Jason Stanier and reigning club champ Gerry MacDonald scored bragging rights for Inglewood at the PGA of Alberta's Tournament of Champions at RedTail Landing.Stanier and MacDonald combined for a 10-under 62 in the best-ball format and still had a bit of work to do, defeating Nanton's Dave Henzie and Matt Nienaber on the second playoff hole.
Ellen Howe notched the first hole-in-one in the history of Serenity Golf Club.A dozen Play Golf Calgary staffers snuck out Thursday for a preview round on the Dancing Bull design and Howe made the most of her first crack at the fifth hole, finding the flag with a nifty nine-iron from 119 yards away.
Don Varga seems to have a favourite hole.Or a favourite club.Or maybe both.Varga recorded his second career ace last weekend, and it was a case of déjà vu — another awesome eight-iron on No. 17 at Fox Hollow.That's been the recipe for both of his hole-in-one celebrations.
John Scott and Laurie Yakiwchuk can swap stories after both aced No. 15 at Maple Ridge.Scott achieved the feat with an eight-iron from 125 yards out, while Yakiwchuk was right on target with a nine-iron from the 111-yard blocks.
Also at Maple Ridge, Rory Wilkowich was one-and-done on No. 13, completing the dandy downhiller with one crack of a pitching wedge from 204 yards away.
Linda Porter returned from a spin of Speargrass with big news — an ace on No. 14.She cranked a rescue club from 120 yards away, and her aim was outstanding.
Celia Gaudet was spot-on with a wedge on the 90-yard eighth assignment on the Raven Course at Priddis Greens, while Phil Cram made short work of No. 11 on that same layout, finishing his business with a sweet six-iron from 134 yards out.
Rob Whitfield didn't require a putter on the third hole of Highwood's Heritage loop, getting the job done with one smack of a seven-wood from 134 yards away.
Dimitrios Tsakalakis has a tale to tell after a 98-yard ace — that's one swing of a 56-degree wedge — on No. 12 at Shaganappi Point.
Brad Droppo drained his tee-shot on the fifth hole on Heritage Pointe's Desert Nine, a smooth seven-iron from 163 yards out, while Dave Jones had an eight-iron in hand for a 150-yard ace on the fifth challenge on the Heritage Nine.
Cam Brown picked a perfect line with a pitching wedge on the 159-yard fourth hole of HeatherGlen's Creek Nine.
Golfer Emmett Oh by Houston Cougar Golf[리서치페이퍼=Giselle Rances 기자]