(Mike Ballo of Stamford was one of four Connecticut players to advance in US Open qualifying)
May 7, 2018: Despite bogeys on the 9th and 18th holes, Patrick Langan, who grew up in Ridgefield, Conn., shot 69 to earn medalist honors at the U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Great River Golf Club in Milford on Monday. Langan birdied five holes en route to the only sub-70 round of the day, 35-34, over the 7,000-yard, par-72 course, among the toughest in the state.
“I’ve got to figure out how to finish those nines,” laughed the assistant professional at the Golf Club of Purchase in Purchase, NY. But on a day when 28 of 76 would-be qualifiers did not break 80, his three-under looked spectacular.
Also advancing to the sectional qualifier were Mike Ballo, of Stamford, a professional at Winged Foot Golf Club, Ross Kronberg also of Stamford, and a former member of the Sacred Heart Golf Team that enjoys Great River as its home, and John Martinchek of Vernon, Conn., who won the final spot in a two-hole, sudden-death playoff against David Pastore of Greenwich. Both shot 71. The two traded pars on the 18th before Martinchek, a professional at Blackledge Country Club, won with 3 on the par-3 10th. Pastore and Geno Giancola of New Britain, who shot 72, became first and second alternates.
“I’m not much of a practicer,” said Martinchek, who survived with a great short game and only 26 putts. “I was really busy at work this past week. So I knew 70 or 71 was going to be a great score for me. There was no way I was shooting in the 60s.”
Only one man did.
The qualifiers indicated that they would enter the sectional qualifier on June 4 at Canoe Brook Country Club in New Jersey. Those who survive that 36 hole test will tee it up in the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, NY June 14-17.