A field of 130 golfers - 93 pros and 37 ameteurs - will try for 14 places in a 36-hole local qualifying test today for the U.S. Open over the two Washingtonian County Club courses. Half the field will tee off on the National course and half on the motel course, both at 7:30 a.m.
The 14 survivors from the local qualifying move on to regional qualifying the first week of June at several sites. The U.S. Open will be conducted at Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Okla., June 16-19.
Ray Lawrenson, executive director of the District Golf Association, hopes to avoid the problems of previous years when players finished in the dark.
The last threesome in each half of the field will go off at 8:59 a.m. The players will have a brief lunch after their first 18 and then switch courses. Lawrenson is hopeful that the entire 36 holes, even including possible playoffs, will be finished by 7:30 p.m.
As usual, the field will include the area's outstanding amateur and pro players. Among the amateurs are Mary West, the Middle Atlantic men's amateur champion; Gary Mankulish, former Maryland amateur and Middle Atlantic amateur champion; Gary Marlowe, Middle Atlantic junior champion, and Greg Carpousis, District junior champion.
Roger Simpkins, former University of Maryland golfer, will make his debut in the qualifying trials as a pro. The pro ranks also offer some top players, including Chris Pigott, former Maryland Open champion who qualified for the U.S. Open in 1975; Larry Wise, former Congressional pro who tried the big tour last year; Bruce Lehnhard, a consistent winner on the Middle Atlantic PGA tour, and Luther Showaker, the 245-pound big hitter who usually does well in these trials.
Mankulish, who may turn pro sometime this year, is at the top of his game. He had a great year in 1975 but didn't play much last season because of the birth of his first child.
The golfers could be in for a surprise on the motel course, which is considered easier.But with the tees set back and the fairways narrow, that course may now be more of a test than the National course, which is a tough layout. Nobody has equalled par for 36 holes in previous qualifying test on the National course.