Allenby Sets Course Record, Takes Medalist Honors in U.S. Open Qualifying at Bellingham G&CC

James Allenby of Langley, B.C. set a course record, firing a 10-under par 61, and took medalist honors in leading the field of 104 players who competed today in local qualifying at Bellingham (Wash.) Golf and Country Club. Along with Allenby, six other players advanced from this local qualifier to the sectional qualifier, which will be held on June 3. The 2013 U.S. Open Championship is being held June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Penn.

Allenby’s record round consisted of six birdies and two eagles. He had no bogeys on the day. He opened his round with four straight birdies, eagled the par-5 seventh, birdied the eighth, and when he holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 10th, he walked to the 11th tee sitting at 9-under par after 10 holes. Of his 29 on the front nine, he said, “It was pretty much perfect. Every shot was going right at the flag, and all the putts were tracking. It was crazy. It was fun.” When asked about his chances going into the sectional qualifier, he said, “Hopefully I can carry (the momentum) on through. It would be fantastic to play in the U.S. Open.”

The other players to qualify are Darren Wallace, Langley, B.C., the former University of Washington star; John Cassidy of Yelm, Wash.; John Eisentrout of Olympia, Wash.; Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., also a former star at the University of Washington, who was ranked the No. 1 amateur in the world his senior year; Tyler Wong of Bellingham, Wash.; and Jack Kelly of North Bend, Wash.

Wong and Kelly outlasted Derek Berg of Kenmore, Wash. in a playoff for the final two available spots. Berg, who bogeyed holes 16 and 17 to fall into a tie before losing out in the playoff, is first alternate, and Tim Feenstra of Issaquah, Wash. is second alternate.

Overall, this year’s championship received a record number of entries. The total of 9,860 entrants eclipses the previous mark of 9,086 for the 2009 championship at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y. Among the record total are 52 players, including 11 past champions, who are currently fully exempt into the field. To be eligible, a player must have a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional. Local qualifying, which will be played over 18 holes at 111 sites in the United States, will take place between May 3-16. The USGA received entries for the 113th U.S. Open from golfers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 73 foreign countries. This year marks the fifth time that the USGA received more than 9,000 entries for the U.S. Open Championship.

The U.S. Open is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association (USGA), 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. The Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) is the local representative of the USGA and conducts this qualifier for the U.S. Open Championship.