Ellington, Connecticut (September 22, 2021) – On a cloudy day with intermittent showers qualifying for the 7th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball and 7th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball were held at Ellington Ridge Country Club.
In U.S. Amateur Four-Ball qualifying the home course team comprised of Bradley Sawka and Jack Snyder earned medalist honors with a 6-under 66.
“I am super excited to qualify. This is our second year trying to qualify together. We started last year at Timberlin Golf Course and it didn’t go our way but at our home course this year we played really solid and got it done,” Snyder a recent UConn graduate said.
Snyder got the team off to a quick start with birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 before Sawka picked up the torch with an eagle on the par-5 5th hole to propel the duo to 4-under through five holes. Following the fast start, a run of pars ensued as did a bogey on the 10th to drop Sawka and Snyder back to 3-under. That bogey lit a fire under Sawka who proceeded to birdie the next three holes as the tandem moved to 6-under.
“I am stoked [to qualify]. My Dad [John Sawka] talks about this tournament and tries to qualify every year,” Sawka a junior at Ellington High School said. “So for me and Jack to make it and for it to be on our home course it is just awesome.”
Following the birdie barrage, the players traded pars on the way to the house and once they signed their card it became a waiting game. However, as the afternoon ticked on and the scores were entered it soon became clear that Sawka and Snyder were off to their first USGA event.
There was one other qualifying spot up for grabs and that went to Brandon Gillis and Mike Walker of New Hampshire. Gillis and Walker finished regulation tied with Ben and Dan Day at 5-under and were able to advance in a playoff.
Ben and Dan Day had to settle for the first alternate spot while the Vermont tandem of Maxwell Major and Frankie Sanborn finished with a 4-under 68 to earn the second alternate spot.
The 7th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball will be contested from May 14-18th at the Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama.
In U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball qualifying a birdie on the final hole lifted the sister duo of Grace and Claire Lu to medalist honors and punched their ticket into the field at 7th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball.
“It is pretty cool because both of us have never partnered up before despite us being related,” said older sister Grace. “So the first time being able to become partners and qualify was something we both didn’t expect.”
On the front nine younger sister Claire, who played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball last year, kept the team afloat with a series of par saves. The 15-year-old rolled in key par saving putts on the final three holes on the opening nine as the Edison, New Jersey team turned in 1-over 37.
A bogey on No. 10 dropped the Lu’s to 2-over however a birdie on the par-5 11th from Grace quickly followed along with another birdie on No. 14 to return the team to even-par with three holes remaining. They did slip up with a bogey on the par-4 16th but they were able to rebound once again as Claire recorded a birdie on the par-3 17th.
With even-par already in the house the Lu’s needed one more birdie to punch their ticket. 17-year-old Grace found the fairway off the tee on the closing par-4 and then hit a seven-iron from 140-yards to 12-feet above the hole. Typically anything above the cup on the final hole at Ellington Ridge CC is a nearly impossible putt and one of the hardest in the state. Recognizing the speed of the greens Grace tapped her putt, got it started on the right line and watched as it slammed into the bottom of the cup.
The first alternate spot went to Nitisha Manikandesh and Kate Bennett of Texas who finished even-par while Megan Grehan (Greenwich, CT) and Courtney Tincher (Rye, NY) earned the second alternate spot in a playoff at 5-over.
The 7th U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball will be played from April 20-24th at the Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico.
About the Connecticut State Golf Association
The Connecticut State Golf Association functions as an extension of the USGA and provides stewardship for amateur golf in Connecticut. Founded in 1899, it is the country’s oldest state golf association and conducts over 60 Championships, Qualifiers, and One Day Tournaments throughout the year.