GOLF: U.S. OPEN LOCAL QUALIFIER

Tetherow caddie is one step closer to U.S. Open dream

Justin Kadin is one of seven golfers to advance to the sectional qualifying stage

By Kevin Duke / The Bulletin

Moving on

Qualifiers: Aaron Wise, Lake Elsinore, Calif.; Justin Kadin, Corvallis; Ryan Gronlund, Pleasanton, Calif.; Matt Marshall, Carlton; Derek Barron, Lakewood, Wash.; Conner Kumpula, Albany; Sulman Raza, Eugene

First alternate: Jarred Bossio, Olympia, Wash.

Second alternate: Six-way playoff to determine the second alternate begins at 8 a.m. today

Then came the wait.

As the groups started to come in Tuesday afternoon during the U.S. Open local qualifier at Pronghorn Club’s Nicklaus course, the University of Oregon’s Aaron Wise and amateur Justin Kadin, who caddies at Tetherow in Bend, shot rounds that had them in position as potential qualifiers.

They were trying to grab one of seven spots out of 112 golfers Tuesday, the first step toward the dream of playing in the U.S. Open.

While Wise finished at 5-under-par 67 and likely was in, Kadin’s round of 2-under 70 had him committed to hanging out at the club for the rest of the day.

“Now I just have to wait,” Kadin said as he came off the 18th green at about 3:30 p.m. The 70 could have been enough, but he faced the possibility of a playoff to move on to the sectional round — the final step for qualifying for the U.S. Open.

“I’ve got to think it’s going to be good, but you never know,” he said. “There is a lot of good players out there.

“I thought anything under par was going to be good.”

Wise was waiting for a different reason.

A tee shot hit by a member of his group on the 18th tee was wide right and up against a stump in the high desert scrub.

The ball was eventually found, but then the group had to wait for a ruling and the delay brought the threesome in about 10 minutes behind the required time, meaning the possibility of a one-stroke pace-of-play penalty that could be added to their scores.

“We had some stuff happen on 16 and on 18, which took awhile,” Wise said after signing his scorecard and talking to the rules officials. “We missed our time by a bit, but I think we’ll be OK.”

As the day wore on it became apparent that the penalty, if there was one, would not affect whether Wise qualified, and he was on to the sectional round as the medalist at Tuesday’s event.

“That will be good enough to qualify, which is what you come out here to do,” Wise said. “Winning would be great, but I just came out here to get into the top seven and move on.”

At about 7 p.m., the penalty was rescinded by the rules committee, and Wise’s 67 stood.

Kadin also appeared to be in and was able to take off from the club in the early evening.

Mighty Duck

Wise, who is from Lake Elsinore, California and is all of 19 years old, will finish this year out for the Oregon Ducks before turning pro at the end of the college season, which he hopes will conclude at the NCAA championships at Eugene Country Club on May 20-25.

He returned to Oregon for the qualifier from British Columbia, where last week he won the MacKenzie Tour- PGA Tour Canada qualifying school and got full exempt status to play professionally on the tour this summer.

The No. 6-ranked amateur in the world picked up right where he left off at Pronghorn on Tuesday, making seven birdies against two bogeys to outdistance the field.

“This course is not easy,” Wise said. “Obviously the wind was kicking up and it didn’t play very easy out there.”

He noted that his short game saved him numerous strokes during the round.

“Credit my team and a little work I’ve done on my own for how good my short game has gotten over the last month,” he said. “It showed again today.

“I didn’t hit the ball great but I was able to capitalize when I hit it close … and get it up and down when I didn’t.”

Wise’s 5-under 67 was three shots better than Kadin, his closest competition. Those two, along with Ryan Gronlund at 1 under, were the only players under par in the tough, windy conditions.

Kadin’s back nine

The 26-year-old amateur rode a hot streak on the back nine to his berth in the sectional qualifier.

Kadin made four birdies in a seven-hole stretch to secure his spot. His six birdies offset four bogeys for the 2-under 70.

But it was a couple of pars that kept his round manageable, he said.

A short-sided bunker shot on No. 7 stopped a foot from the hole, and another up-and-down from a partially buried lie in a bunker behind the 13th green kept the momentum going.

“I made about an 8-footer there for par and that really kept the round going,” Kadin said. Birdies came after on 14, 16 and 17 to get him to 3 under, but his one bad drive during the round cost him a bogey on 18.

“That’s the only drive I missed all day,” he said.

Kadin, whose hometown is Corvallis, came close to qualifying for the sectional round last year, missing a spot by a single shot at Eugene Country Club.

“That was the closest I’ve been,” he said. “This would be the first time I actually get through (to the sectional round).”

Kadin is familiar with the course where he will play in the sectional round, Royal Oaks in Vancouver, Washington. He has played the course, he said, and feels it suits his game.

“If I get the putter going those greens are awesome, so I’ve got to like my chances over there,” he said. “I’m stoked, absolutely.”

Pronghorn’s Jerrel Grow missed the playoff for the second alternate spot (to be held this morning) by one shot with a 74, while Bend High graduate Ryan DeCastilhos was at even par through 16 before a triple bogey on 17 derailed his shot at advancing.

Matt Marshall, Derk Barron, Conner Kumpula and Sulman Raza joined Gronlund as the other five players to move on with a shot at playing in the U.S. Open, to be contested for a record ninth time at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

— Reporter: 541-617-7868, kduke@bendbulletin.com .

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