Golf Bag: Stiles Heads for U.S. Open
This has been a tough year for Darron Stiles, the Pinehurst resident who continues to battle to make it on the PGA Tour. But there was a bright note last Monday when he qualified for the U.S. Open.
Stiles, who has shuttled back and forth from the Nationwide Tour to the PGA Tour over recent years, earned his PGA card again last year. But his father, a Pinehurst resident, passed away in early January and he returned home for an extended period.
If his showing in the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier in Memphis on Monday was an indication, however, he appears to be rounding back into form.
Stiles posted rounds of 69-64 to finish one stroke behind medalist Peter Tomasulo, who shot 64-69.
Stiles is competing in the St. Jude Classic in Memphis this week and will travel to Bethpage Sunday night to begin practice rounds for the Open on Monday.
Stiles was the only regional player to qualify for the Open. Jack Fields of Southern Pines shot 71-69 at Ball Ground, Ga., but missed qualifying by five strokes.
David Sanchez of Pinehurst shot 73-76 in Rockville Md., to finish 13 strokes behind medalist Ben Martin, an amateur.
Fields, a rising sophomore on the University of North Carolina golf team, is defending his North Carolina Amateur title this weekend at Old Chatham Golf Club, a private course near Durham.
The 142 contestants are enjoying a rare treat there, as Old Chatham is all about golf. There are no houses lining the fairways, no swimming pool, no tennis courts, no Saturday night wedding receptions. Yet, the facility is one of the costliest membership clubs in the area.
The 7,203-yard, par-72 course, set in 400 acres of protected woodlands, was created by noted architect Rees Jones and opened in 2001. Firm and fast fairways, tough Bermuda grass rough and quick, subtle greens provide a significant challenge for the amateurs, all of whom have handicap indexes of 5.4 or better.
National Special: Through the end of August, National Golf Club is offering a special stay-and-play package as part of its 20th anniversary celebration.
The package allows golfers to stay overnight in a villa or club cottage and enjoy two rounds on National's Jack Nicklaus signature course at the anniversary rate of $220 per person, plus tax, based on double occupancy. In addition, replay rounds are just $20 each day.
National Golf Club features a 7,122-yard, par-72 championship course that opened in 1989. Over the years it has been consistently ranked among the top 20 golf courses in North Carolina and has twice hosted U.S. Open qualifying and PGA Tour Q-School.
"This is an opportunity to experience one of the top courses in the Sandhills at a great price," said general manager Ken Crow. "The package also includes access to such amenities as the golf practice area, swim and tennis center and first-class dining in our clubhouse."
For information, call (800) 471-4339 or visit www.NationalGolf Club.com.
N.C. Junior: Michael McGowan of Southern Pines, the top-ranked junior boy in the Tar Heel state, Bo Andrews of Raleigh, who is ranked No. 3, and Andy Knox of Cary, the 2007 runner-up who is ranked 7th, are competing in the 42nd North Carolina Junior Championship of the Carolinas Golf Association, a competition for ages 18 and under, which will be played Tuesday through Friday at Henderson Country Club.
A new champion will be crowned in the girls' division since Hayley Hammond of Mooresville has moved on to college. In the boys' division, 2008 champion Justin Clement of Lexington, is back.
The N.C. Junior is a match play competition, with an 18-hole qualifying round on June 16 determining the field for the head-to-head matches.
Help the Kids: There's still time to enter the Emil Froehlich Memorial Tournament scheduled for Southern Pines Golf Club Saturday. The tournament benefits physically and mentally challenged children and adults of Moore County.
This is a four-person captain's choice event with an entry fee of $75 and a 9 a.m. shotgun start.
An individual or business that enters a four-person team with the $300 fee automatically receives a hole sponsorship. If you can't play, you can sponsor a hole with a sign bearing your company name for as little as $75.
The tournament is being conducted by Southern Pines Elks Lodge 1692, which is conducting a Fun Day for kids in conjunction with the tournament.
For entries or information call 692-7375.
eGolf Tour: The eGolf Professional Tour's Greater Richmond Open was shortened to 18 holes after tournament officials declared on Friday that completion of the second round at Country Club of Petersburg was not possible due to course conditions after severe storms re-entered the area.
At the Country Club of Petersburg, 2009 Bolle Classic champion David Lutterus -- two weeks removed from his first pro title -- carded an 8-under 64 on Wednesday to take the top prize in that half of the split. Lutterus earned $15,887 and moved to No. 4 on the 2009 money list with nearly $50,000 in earnings in just four starts.
At Royal New Kent Golf Club, Clint Jensen of Jupiter, Fla., took the top spot with a round of 6-under 66, also earning $15,887.
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