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WILLIAMSTOWN, Massachusetts – From storylines to weather, U.S. Open Local Qualifying at Taconic GC had a little bit of everything. A calm and sunny morning gave way to mid-morning rain storms and afternoon wind gusts in the range of 30-40 mph.
In total, five players advanced to U.S. Open Final Qualifying including Medalist Sam Goldenring (Florham Park, NJ), a former Williams College golfer. Fran & Owen Quinn (Worcester CC) will return to Final Qualifying, but this time Owen won’t be caddying for his father Fran, he’ll be playing alongside him. Ethan Whitney (Oak Hill CC) was the only amateur to advance from Taconic, and Eric Mabee (CC of Pittsfield) will make his second appearance in Final Qualifying after just missing out last year.
Most players will tell you, even-par will usually get you through Local Qualifying. At Taconic, Sam Goldenring’s even-par 71 not only got him through, it earned him medalist honors in his homecoming round. Having played his college golf at Williams College, Goldenring not only credited his course knowledge but the good memories around Williamstown.
“There’s local knowledge all over the place here, but more than anything, just seeing some friends come out. You can see the school while you’re out on the course, so when things got a little sideways, it was kind of like a nice reminder that there’s more than just golf. I have great memories here and that was something that calmed me down.” said Goldenring.
Fran Quinn and Owen Quinn are quite familiar with U.S. Open Final Qualifying, and the U.S. Open for that matter. But in the past it had been with Fran hitting the shots and Owen carrying the clubs. Thanks to a sizzling 32 (-3) on the front-9, Owen was able to absorb some bogeys on the back nine and match his father’s 72 (+1) and grab two of the five spots up for grabs.
Fran, a regular on the PGA TOUR Champions, played a round exactly opposite of Owen’s. Starting on the difficult back, Fran went out in +3, but closed it out like seasoned veteran. His bogey-free 33 on the front (his second 9) was capped off with a clutch birdie putt on the par-3 9th.
With five players shooting 73 (+2), the final two spots (along with two alternate spots) were determined via playoff.
Ethan Whitney, looked not only dejected, but angry, coming off the course after making double-bogey on 17 and a disappointing par on 18. His finish forced him into the 5-for-2 playoff.
Whitney quickly turned the rage into focus, and after two beautifully struck shots, he was standing over an eagle putt with a trip to U.S. Open Final Qualifying on the line. What happened next is enough to give anyone goosebumps…
— Mass Golf (@PlayMassGolf) May 17, 2022
Whitney’s birdie gave him the fourth of five spots, and sent the remaining four players to another playoff hole.
On the second playoff hole, Eric Mabee, Head Professional at CC of Pittsfield, was sitting short-right of the green. He was likely thinking maybe a par will force another hole.
Mabee stepped up to his ball and hit an aggressive low-flighted chip shot, which jumped forward before quickly hitting the breaks and trickling down to just outside of a foot. He then walked up and cleaned up his par before the other two competitors attempted their birdie putts. Both birdie putts missed, and because they were coming from above the hole, ran out to the 4-6 foot range. And when both players were unable to convert their par putts, Mabee shook hands, turned around, let out a deep breath, and then smiled from ear-to-ear.
Players who advanced through qualifying at Taconic GC will now advance to Final Qualifying – and will likely play in Purchase, NY on June 6. With 9 Final Qualifiers set for June 6, the day has been tabbed as “Golf’s Longest Day” and includes all-day coverage on Golf Channel and other national media outlets.
The USGA hosted 4 other Local Qualifiers on Tuesday in Florida, New York, Nevada and Washington. The final Local Qualifier for the 2022 U.S. Open will be held on May 23 in Palmer, Alaska.
Josh Hillman (Williamstown, MA), Head Golf Professional at Taconic GC and Head Golf Coach of Williams College, was in the first group off this morning. He shot a steady 36 on the front-9, but dropped a few shots on the difficult back-9, and finished with a 77 (+6). Playing with his son Jacob on the bag, Hillman was greeted with cheers as he finished his round on the 18th hole. Both members of the club and members of the Williams golf team followed him for much of the day.
Not one, not two, but three Quinn’s were in the field on Tuesday. All related, and all residing in Holden, MA, the Quinn’s made the trek out west to compete alongside one another. Fran Quinn competes on the PGA TOUR Champions, Owen Quinn recently turned professional after a stellar amateur career, and Matthew Quinn, 16 years old, competes competitively in the amateur events.
QUALIFIERS (Names; Cities)
Sam Goldenring (Florham Park, NJ); (E) 71
Owen Quinn (Holden, MA); (+1) 72
Fran Quinn (Holden, MA); (+1) 72
Ethan Whitney (a) (Westminster, MA); (+2) 73*
Eric Mabee (Pittsfield, MA); (*2) 73**
ALTERNATES (In Order)
Thomas Harrison (a) (West Palm Beach, FL); (+2) 73***
Sean Fitzgerald (a) (Newton, MA); (+2) 73****
*Advanced with eagle on first playoff hole
**Advanced with par on second playoff hole
***Advanced on fourth playoff hole
****Advanced on seventh playoff hole
May 23 (USA & Japan)
June 6 (USA & Canada)
Widely known as one of the best golf courses in the country from both an architectural and scenic standpoint, Taconic GC has played host to numerous USGA and Mass Golf events over the years.
The most recent USGA Qualifier to be held at Taconic was U.S. Amateur Qualifying in 2018. The club has also hosted USGA Championship Propers in 1996 (U.S. Senior Amateur) and 1956 (U.S. Junior Amateur).
One of Mass Golf’s signature events, the Massachusetts Amateur Championship, was contested on these storied grounds in 2016. Later this year, the Massachusetts Super Senior Amateur Championship will be played, and is slated to begin on October 3.
It’s said that “three men with three tomato cans” gave birth to the Taconic Golf Club in 1896. That year the late William Howard Doughty, James M. Ide, and Edward C. Gale received permission form Williams College to install three tomato cans on Weston Athletic Field, which adjoins the present 18th fairway of Taconic.
In 1897, a longer nine hole course was laid out. And in 1927 Wayne Stiles of Stiles & Van Kleek, a Boston firm, was commissioned to design and construct an 18 hole course. In 2008 renowned golf course architect Gil Hanse was retained for a multi-million dollar renovation project, which was completed in the summer of 2009.
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With a community made up of over 100,000 golf enthusiasts and over 360 member clubs, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Members enjoy the benefits of handicapping, engaging golf content, course rating and scoring services along with the opportunity to compete in an array of events for golfers of all ages and abilities