Storm Whips U.S. Open Qualifying Into Spin Cycle

By Kathy Orton
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, June 7, 2005

The strong thunderstorm that rolled through the area postponed the U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Woodmont Country Club yesterday.

Twelve of the 149 players remained on the Rockville course when play was suspended at 7:20 p.m. The 36-hole qualifier is scheduled to resume today at 8:30 a.m. However, the three players in the group that remained on the South course elected to withdraw because they were not in contention. Three threesomes were left on the North course. Some of those players might not return today.

Several players who completed their rounds yesterday will have to come back to Woodmont for a playoff. With 16 players in the clubhouse at 8 under par, as many as six of the 22 spots remain to be determined. Nine players are at 7 under.

J.P. Hayes, one of the 74 PGA Tour players competing at Woodmont, is one of the few who can make plans for Pinehurst No. 2, where the U.S. Open will be held next week. Hayes is the clubhouse leader at 62-67--129 (13 under). He had 14 birdies and only one bogey -- No. 12 on the North course. Hayes, who also qualified here in 2000, will play in his third consecutive U.S. Open.

"I found it very enjoyable," Hayes said of his afternoon 18 holes. "It was a low-stress round."

Olin Browne, a St. Albans graduate who plays on the PGA Tour, had the round of the day. Browne finished his afternoon with a birdie and two eagles on the South course for a 59. He was one shot off the course record, set by Shigeki Maruyama in 2000. Despite his 73 in the morning round, Browne likely earned an Open berth.

After sailing around the South course -- considered by many the easier of the two courses -- Brown began his final surge by making a five-foot birdie putt on No. 16. On the par-4 399-yard No. 17, Browne pitched in from 111 yards. He was on the green in two on the par-5 561-yard finishing hole then sank a 25-foot putt for back-to-back eagles. Browne, who will play in the Booz Allen Classic starting Thursday, is looking forward to returning to Congressional, where he played in what was then the Kemper Open in 1983.

"Going back is exciting," he said. "It's nice to come home and play."

Tommy Armour III, another PGA Tour player who will be competing at the Booz Allen Classic this week, and David Denham, who helped Georgia win the NCAA title at Caves Valley last weekend, were two shots off the lead at 131. Denham earned low amateur honors.

Seven current or former PGA Tour players shot 133: Rob Rashell, Omar Uresti, Rocco Mediate, Brandt Snedeker, Craig Barlow, James Driscoll and Clint Jensen. Six current or former Tour players shot 134: James Driscoll, Ryuji Imada, Steve Elkington, D.J. Brigman, David Oh and John Mallinger. They likely will advance to the Open.

Paul Claxton, a PGA Tour player, was the lone qualifier at Chevy Chase Club, where 16 players from the Woodmont field were sent to qualify. Claxton had nine birdies and one bogey to finish 66-66--132 (8 under). This will be his first U.S. Open after trying to qualify six times and missing out on four playoffs.

"I putted real well today," he said. "In the first round, that's what held me in there."

Booz Allen Qualifier: Brad Adamonis shot a 5-under 67, at Little Bennett Golf Course in Clarksburg to earn a spot at the PGA Tour event at Congressional this week. Sean Murphy, who finished one stroke behind Adamonis, also qualified. William MacKenzie, Eli Zackheim, Brent Delahoussaye and Brenden Pappas tied at 69. Their playoff for the final two spots was suspended on the first hole because of lightning.


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