The five local golfers competing in the first stage of U.S. Open qualifying Thursday all came up short of advancing to the next round.
Egg Harbor Township resident John Appleget posted the best score among area competitors. Appleget, the 48-year-old head golf instructor at Wildwood Golf & Country Club, shot a 3-over par 75 at Worthington Manor Country Club in Urbana, Md.
“All things considered I played OK,” Appleget said in a phone interview.
“I had a couple of caddies fall through, so I wound up carrying my own bag for the first time in about 10 years. The wind was really strong and we had a fog delay in the morning. But even with all that, I still had a chance (to earn one of the eight qualifying spots), but I just couldn’t get it done at the end.”
Cape May Court House native Alex Hicks, a three-time Press Player of the Year for Middle Township High School and a sophomore at the College of William & Mary, joined Appleget at Worthington Manor and shot 5-over par 77.
Mays Landing resident Pete Barron III, Millville native Jeff Simpson and Margate resident John Manfredi played Thursday at Waynesborough Country Club in Paoli, Pa.
Barron, who qualified for sectionals in 2009 and 2010, was just three strokes away from possibly earning one of the seven slots available at Waynesborough.
The 37-year-old former professional golfer bogeyed four of the last six holes en route to a 6-over par 77, which left him tied for 36th.
Simpson, who was The Press Player of the Year in 1996 as a senior at Millville High School, carded an 8-over par 79 to finish tied for 46th.
Manfredi withdrew from the tournament after 13 holes.
“I was right there after nine holes,” Barron said in a phone interview. “But I missed a couple of putts and then I really started pressing because I knew what the (cutoff number) was going to be.
“I not mad, just disappointed. But that’s why I’m an amateur now instead of a professional. It’s only a game for me now. It’s time to go home and play with my kids (3-year-old twins Chloe and Julia) and not worry about it.”
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