Ken Leber went on a one-putt binge on his final 10 holes and added 68 to an earlier 71 for a 36-hole total of 139 to lead four U.S. Open qualifiers yesterday at Manor Country Club. Leber also won $375.
Also making the field for the Open at Inverness in Toledo, Ohio, June 14 were Randy O'Linger of Ocean City, Md., and Mike Atkins of Lancaster, Pa., at 142, and Larry Rentz of Lanham, at 143. All will be playing in their first U.S. Open.
Rentz won the final spot with a 35 foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff against John Buczek of Plainfield, N.J.
"I putted real well," said Leber, 22, a four-year assistant at Army Navy. Leber said he tried to hit a lot of greens and keep the ball below the hole on a day when shots got little or no roll because the course was soggy from week-long rains.
Leber one-putted the ninth hole from six feet for par, the 10th from 70 feet for birdie, the 11th from six feet for par and the 12th from eight feet for a birdie. He chipped up for one-putt pars on holes 13 and 14 and sank a 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole.
O'Linger pushed his drive out of bounds on the 18th hole in the morning and finished with a triple-bogey 7 for 73. But the stocky power hitter was deft with his wedge throughout the day, getting up and down "eight or nine times."
O'Linger said that what kept his round together was par he saved on the 12th hole in the afternoon, with a downhill wedge shot from heavy rough behind the green. He finished with 69.
Atkins, three-year head pro at Indian Springs in Lancaster, Pa., chipped in a 60-foot pitch shot on his final hole for a birdie. He shot twin 71s.
Atkins salvaged a bogey on the par-5 15th hole in the afternoon. His four-wood second shot went over a fence, but he scrambled for 6 when he wedged to within 15 feet and sank the putt. "That kept me at an even keel," Atkins said.
Rentz, reigning Worsham champion who plays for the University of Florida, birdied holes two, five and nine in the afternoon for a fine outgoing 33.
Buczek, even par through 34 holes, ha da tale of grief. His four-wood teeshot on the par-3 17th hole bounced off a cart path and finished two feet out of bounds.
Buczek hit a provisional ball and took triple-bogey 6, parred the last hole and lost to Rentz in a playoff.
Dennis Satyshur of Columbia, in good shape after a morning 71, double-bogeyed 16 and 17 in the afternoon and finished at 146. He lost a playoff among five players for threealternate spots. CAPTION: Picture, Ken Leber of Army Navy hits an iron shot en route to winning medal in qualifying for the U.S. Open at Manor Country Club. By Linda Wheeler - The Washington Post