Four move on from U.S. Open Local Qualifer at Spirit Hollow GC
Spirit Hollow Golf Course in Burlington certainly provided a U.S. Open-like test on Monday, May 15, for the 64 competitors who teed it up at the local qualifier.
In the end, four players advanced to the sectional stage. Michael Wuertz, a professional from Davenport, was the medalist with a two under-par 70. Next was amateur Andrew O’Brien and professional Michael Roters, who fashioned even-par 72. The fourth and final qualifying spot went to Lamoni’s Matt Mickelson (pro), who won a three-way playoff – after almost ending the playoff on the first hole (#1) by hitting it to within inches for a tap-in birdie.
Wuertz (pcitured) admitted he had a few first tee jitters when teeing it up this morning.
“I was pretty nervous on the first tee,” Wuertz said. “This was my first competitive round in a few months.”
Even with nerves battling him before the round, Wuertz got off to a nice start in the first three holes.
I birdied #10 and #12,” Wuertz said. “But then bogies three of my next four. I just tried to hang in there and turn it around. It was a solid round. You just have to keep your head down and limit your mistakes. I had four bogies, but also had six birdies. Moving forward is important when playing in tough conditions like this.””
First and second alternates, who joined Mickelson in the playoff for the final qualifying spot, went to Trent Lindenman (New Sharon) and J.D. Anderson (Johnston), respectively. Lindeman was eliminated after Mickelson made birdie on the third play off hole (both players parred the second play off hole, #18), while Anderson’s par on the first sent him back to the clubhouse.
Competitors faced a golf course that stretched over 7,300 yards with thick Bluegrass rough, which presented difficult recovery shots for those who didn’t find the fairway.
“It was tough out there,” Wuertz said of the course. “I thought 70 was a safe number no matter what and not have to worry at all. I am glad I didn’t have to sweat it out. I was able to get up and down most of the day when I did miss a green. I even used the same all day long.”