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OSTERVILLE, Massachusetts – Salem Country Club’s Director of Golf Instruction Kirk Hanefeld has been in his fair share of marquee Championship events over his long career in the golf industry. On Tuesday, he guaranteed a spot in another one. The 63-year old from South Hamilton fired a 1-under 71 at Oyster Harbors Club in Osterville to earn medalist honors and advance to next month’s U.S. Senior Open Championship, being contested at the Warren Course at the University of Notre Dame from June 27-30.
Kirk Hanefeld (South Hamilton, Mass.) – Medalist
Roger Hoit (a) (Summit, N.J.) Qualifier
Chip Johnson (Hingham, Mass.) First Alternate
Charlie Blanchard (Warwick, R.I.) Second Alternate
Roger Hoit, a native of Hingham, Massachusetts who now resides in Summit, New Jersey, carded a 1-over 73 to earn the second of two qualifying spots to the U.S Senior Open Championship in addition to also earning low-amateur honors. He will be competing in his second U.S. Senior Open Championship and the first since 2015.
“This will be my fourth one, although I haven’t played in one for a few years, so it’s always nice to qualify for an event like this,” said Hanefeld, a member of the New Hampshire Golf Hall of Fame who will be competing in his 30th career major following his performance Tuesday. “It’s tough with a one-day qualifier with only two spots and 70 or 80 guys. You can’t really make any mistakes.”
After his first hole of the day, in which he recorded a double-bogey, Hanefeld settled right down and found his rhythm, birdying two of the next three holes to quickly get back into contention.
“I hit a good shot on 10, the first swing of the day and I probably had one club too many,” explained Hanefeld following his round. “It landed just short of pin high and I didn’t realize how firm the greens were. The ball went over the green and into a really bad lie. I chopped it out of there and three-putted. Started off with a double bogey right off the bat. I hung in there, played three-under the rest of the way and it was good enough to get in.”
After the double, he birdied the par-4 11th hole and 13th holes, and added a third birdie on the par-5 16th holes to make the turn at 1-over 37, a score that allowed him to stay in the mix.
Once on the back nine, Hanefeld pulled away with three more birdies to only one bogey to ascend to the top of the leaderboard. His 2-under mark on the back nine secured his final score of 1-under 71.
Behind Hanefeld and Hoit on the leaderboard, Hatherly Country Club professional Chip Johnson, who last played in the U.S. Senior Open Championship at Salem Country Club in 2017, carded a 2-over 74 while Bryant University golf coach Charlie Blanchard, behind a 3-over 75 mark, netted the second alternate spot.
In addition to his three previous U.S. Senior Open Championships in 2011 (41), 2007 (32) and 2006 (T26), Kirk Hanefeld also won two PGA Senior Professional Championships, the most recent coming in 2011, and has competed in numerous PGA Tour Champions events and NEPGA sponsored tournaments.
Tuesday’s qualifier at Oyster Harbors Club was the 11th of 34 sectional qualifiers being contested across the United States until Monday, June 10.
Mass Golf will provide coverage for the Massachusetts competitors in the U.S. Senior Open Championship from June 27-30 Visit MassGolf.org and follow @PlayMassGolf on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest information. To join the conversation, use the hashtag #MassGolf and #USSeniorOpen.