|Pictured: Evan Beirne holds the course record at New Haven Country Club with a twelve under-par score of 58.|
On Monday, May 16th, one hundred-twenty of the top amateur and professional golfers will travel to New Haven Country Club to begin their quest to Oakmont and the 116th United States Open. New Haven CC is one of the 111 sites in the United States that is hosting local qualifying and is the only qualifying site in Connecticut. To be eligible, a player must have a Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional.
A total of 9,877 professional and amateur golfers applied to this year's U.S. Open, marking the 8th time in history that the USGA accepted more than 9,000 entries. Of the 9,877, 430 were exempt from local qualifying and only 50 were fully exempt into the Championship. 72 foreign countries and all 50 states were represented in the applicant pool.
The number of entries is third to the record 10,127 accepted for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, and the 9,882 entries accepted for last year’s championship at Chambers Bay, in University Place, Wash.
Of the 120 players competing in the Local Qualifying on Monday, only seven players will advance to one of 12 Sectional Qualifyinging sites. The closest Section Qualifying site in proximity is Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, New Jersey. All Sectional Qualifying in the US will take place on Monday, June 6th.
The course was originally designed by Robert D. Pryde in 1898, who was also the Golf Professional and Greenskeeper at the club. After New Haven Country Club, he would go on to design a total of seven courses in Connecticut, including Wethersfield Country Club, host of the Travelers Championship for thirty-one years. Pryde became the first Executive Director of the CSGA from 1922 to 1946, running the organization from his home on the 12th hole at Race Brook CC. He was inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 1999.
The present layout was designed by renowned architect Willie Park in 1922. The course measures 6,560 yards from the Championship tees and features an incredible set of green complexes that were recently resurfaced with Creeping Bentgrass in 2009.
Par and Yardage –New Haven Country Club will be set up to play at a total of 6,560 yards and a par of 36-34--70.
Holes 1-9 will play at 3,088 yards and a par of 34
Holes 10-18 will play at 3,472 yards and a par of 36
There are a total of 58 professionals and 62 amateurs competing in the qualifier. The last time an amateur from Connecticut advanced to the U.S. Open Championship was Cameron Wilson of Rowayton, Conn.
A total of 12 states are represented in the qualifier:
Connecticut - 90 players
New York - 8
Massachuetts - 7
New Jersey and Rhode Island - 3
Maine and North Carolina - 2
Alabama, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia - 1
Evan Beirne (North Haven, Conn.): A Hamden Hall High School alum, Beirne holds the course record at New Haven, an amazing 58 which he shot in 2010. The thirteen birdie and no bogey round (par was 71 at the time) made national headlines and was a featured story in Golfweek.
Bejamin Day (a) (North Haven, Conn.): Twice a Club Champion at New Haven Country Club and the defending Russell C. Palmer Cup Champion, Day will be looking to qualify for his seventh USGA Championship, having qualified for two U.S. Mid-Amateur, two U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and two U.S. Junior Amateur Championships.
William Street (New Haven, Conn.): A longtime Assistant Golf Professional and Membership Director at New Haven CC, Street captured his first Connecticut Section PGA title at Indian Hill Country Club by winning the Match Play Championship in 2013. He is currently the Head Professional at Whitney Farms Golf Course in Monroe, Connecticut.
Matt Smith (Thompson, Conn.): Now an Assistant Professional at Black Hall Club, Smith won the Connecticut Amateur Championship in 2012 at Race Brook Country Club and was Runner-Up in 2011 at Rolling Hills Country Club.
Cody Paladino (Kensington, Conn.): The defending Connecitcut Open Champion, there's no doubt that Paladino has fond memories of New Haven Country Club. He won the 2013 Connecticut Amateur when it contested at New Haven CC, becoming the first player to capture the Russell C. Palmer Cup and Connecticut Amateur titles in the same year.
Connor Daly (a) (Bronxville, N.Y.): At eighteen years of age and one of the younger contestants in the field, Daly won the 2015 Northern Junior Championship at New Haven Country Club by making birdie on the final hole of regulation. A 2016 graduate, he is committed to play Division I collegiate golf at Villanova University.
Zach Zaback (a) (Farmington, Conn): Fresh off graduating from the University of Connecticut, the 2014 CSGA Player of the Year will look to build upon his performance in last year's U.S. Open qualifying. Zaback advanced through local qualifying and nearly missed qualifying for the U.S. Championship at Old Oaks CC and Century CC - he shot rounds of 73-69--142 and missed out on a playoff for the final spot by two strokes.
Kyle Bilodeau (West Hartford, Conn.): An assistant PGA Professional at Ellington Ridge Country Club, Bilodeau has twice won the Connecticut Section PGA's Spring Stroke Play Championship (2013 and 2015). On both occassions, the victory gave him an exemption to play in the Traveler’s Championship at TPC River Highlands.
Peter Ballo (Stamford, Conn.): Ballo nearly captured his first CSGA title at New Haven CC in 2013, losing in the finals of the Connecticut Amateur to Cody Paladino. Ballo has since turned professional and is currently Assistant Professional at Old Oaks Country Club in Purchasem N.Y. His brother Mike Ballo, also a professional, is in the field as well and was Runner-Up at the Connecticut Open in 2014.
Evan Grenus (a) (Glastonbury, Conn.): Grenus became the first player since Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame member Dick Siderowf to win the Connecticut Junior Amateur and Amateur titles in consecutive years. A rising junior at Wofford College, Grenus averaged 75.06 in his sophomore campaign, competing in all 33 rounds.
Jeff Curl (Birmingham, Alabama): Twice a Connecticut Open Champion, Curl successfully qualified for the U.S. Open in 2012 at The Olympic Club. Curl has competed on the Web.com Tour from 2006-15, recording his best finish in 2010 as Runner-Up in the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open.
Chet Hrostek (a) (New Milford, Conn.): Hrostek, who plays out of the Golf Club at Oxford Greens, made CSGA history last year by becoming the first player to win both the Public Links and Mid-Amateur titles in the same season.
About the Connecticut State Golf Association:
Founded in 1899, the Connecticut State Golf Association is the country’s oldest state golf association and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. The CSGA functions as an extension of the USGA and is dedicated to providing golfers a full range of services for the good of the game and golf in Connecticut. The CSGA is comprised of over 42,000 members and 181 member clubs, providing and administering handicaps for all of its members throughout the state.