Oakmont passes test for local qualifier

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Whether it's on a course in Canada or the United States, things seem to be going well lately for Andrew Roque.

Roque qualified on Friday for the Canadian Tour. Now, he's bidding to qualify for a spot at the United States Open in June.

Though he wasn't completely satisfied with his latest round, Roque easily passed the first test Monday for the prestigious championship, as he carded a four-under-par 67 to secure medalist honors during a local qualifying round at Oakmont Country Club.

"It's my first time [playing at Oakmont] and it's one of those big-target courses," said Roque, who finished his 18-hole round with seven birdies and eight pars and was one of six from the field to advance to the sectional qualifier at a site of their choice June 4. "I felt like I scrambled well at times, but I was disappointed with my round in some ways.

"I'm happy I'm moving on. I want to get back out on the course and get my correct mind frame."

Also advancing were Thomas Barber and Beau Hossler, who each shot 68s, Josh Anderson and Matt Grush with 69s and Flintridge Prep graduate Russell Surber (70). The two alternates will be Donny Lee and Brian Locke. Lee, an assistant pro at Oakmont, fired a 71 and Locke edged out Jerry Crowell in a one-hole playoff to grab the second alternate spot at 72.

Surber, who graduated from Flintridge Prep in 1998 and now resides in Orlando, Fla., registered 13 pars and three birdies on the 6,822-yard course.

"You need to control your ball and the greens were pretty quick," said Surber, a member of the Canadian Tour. "I had to keep the ball below the holes, which I did, but I would have liked to have made a few more greens.

"I feel like I've been playing well this year. Now, it starts all over at sectionals and I need to play another solid round."

Lee said playing on his course has advantages and disadvantages. However, he used the advantages to his liking while playing in front of a familiar group of fans.

"There's lots of advantages about knowing Oakmont, especially on the greens alone," said Lee, who collected 10 pars and four birdies to place seventh. "When you get on the greens, you know the shots to hit and I made a few of them for birdies.

"I thought I had a great putting round, but I didn't hit the ball too well of the tees. My short game kept my score low. Now, it's about expecting the unexpected. I have to stay on my game and hopefully I will get the call [to play in the sectional round]."

Ten area participants competed in the event Monday, including Brett Kanda of La Crescenta.

Kanda, a 2005 Flintridge Prep graduate and a former All-Area Boys' Golfer of the Year, said he struggled with most of his tee shots en route to shooting a 75 to tie for 22nd on his home course.

"I couldn't even tell where the ball was going when I struck it," said Kanda, a UNLV graduate now playing on the Canadian Tour. "It's hard when that happens and it's frustrating.

"I had no idea where my tee and iron shots were going. It's always fun to come home and play here and I would have liked to have done better. I know what I need to work on and that starts with my ball striking."

Kanda, an Oakmont member, had seven pars and four birdies.

In the playoff involving Locke and Crowell, which took place on the par-5 18th hole, Locke recorded a par and Crowell bogeyed.

Among the other area competitors from the field were Cory Camilleri, Scott Lorenz and Keith Kinsel, a Crescenta Valley graduate, from La Cañada Flintridge, Michael Sabo of Glendale, Jonathan Goglia of Burbank and Pasadena's Dan Sullivan and Ernie Lee.

Camilleri had a 75 to tie for 22nd. Goglia collected a 76 to tie for 28th. Lorenz had a 77 to tie for 33rd. Kinsel recorded a 79 to finish tied for 40th. Lee recorded an 83 to tie for 63rd and Sabo had an 85 to tie for 68th.

Local qualifying events will have been held at 109 sites between April 30 and Thursday. The sectionals, played over 36 holes, will be held at two international sites, beginning Monday in Japan and May 28 in England and 11 sites in the United States on June 4. Qualifiers can play their sectional at the site of their choice.

The championship will be held June 14-17 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Oakmont hosted a local qualifier in 2010 and a sectional qualifier in 2011.


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