Dave Quinn is a veteran of the U.S. Open qualifying process, and hopes to use that experience to finally break through and earn a spot in his very first national championship.
Quinn, 45, head pro at the Links in Marlton, is one of nearly 1,000 players seeking the final 76 available berths in the U.S. Open. The sectional, or final, qualifier will be held Monday with 11 sites hosting the 36-hole test.
The qualifiers will find themselves in San Francisco next week, preparing for the June 14 start of the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.
Quinn will try to qualify at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J., where 73 players will vie for four spots. He said this is the “ninth or 10th” time he has made it to sectional qualifying but has never made it to the Open, having gotten to within two shots twice.
He has played over the North and South courses at Canoe Brook before, and knows the strategy. It’s just a matter of executing.
“The North course is really hard,” Quinn said. “It’s long, it’s got high rough. You’ve got to hit it well there. The other golf course is pretty easy – short, reachable par-5’s. It’s more of a position golf course.
“Every time I’ve been there, I’ve done OK on the North course but never went low enough on the South course. I always shot around even par when everybody’s shooting 4-, 5-, 6-under. The object is to go low on the South course because it’s hard to go low on the North course. You have to take care of the South course or you don’t have a chance.”
Quinn is one of three Philadelphia-area players competing at Canoe Brook. The others are David Sanders of Mount Laurel and amateur Kyle Sterbinsky of Yardley. Three other contestants from Eastern Pennsylvania are Blaine Peffley of Lebanon, Andrew Turner of Manheim and Stephen Swartz of Hummelstown.
Quinn said it’s important to be playing well entering an Open qualifier because officials set up the courses as close to U.S. Open conditions as possible.
“You play good, you’re in; you play bad, you’re out,” he said. “You have to hit fairways and greens. You can’t get up and down all day out of the rough because they set it up like the U.S. Open. So they’ll have the greens really fast, they’ll have the rough really high.”
As for his chances this time around, Quinn said, “If I drive it good, I’ve got as good a chance as anybody because that’s usually the best part of my game. I’m usually pretty good on fast hilly greens. So I feel as confident as I’ve ever felt.”
Also competing in sectional qualifying is Wilmington’s Michael Tobiason Jr., a teaching pro at Applecross Country Club in Chester County who played in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional but missed the cut. Tobiason will return to Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., where he fired rounds of 69 and 66 last year to qualify.
Tobiason will be joined at Woodmont by Greg Matthias, a former University of Delaware star who won the CAA championship this year, and Christopher Gray of Newark, Del., an assistant pro at Olde York in Burlington County.
Other local players are Eric Onesi of Bear, Del., who is trying to qualify in Columbus, Ohio, and Penn star Max Marsico of Las Vegas, who will tee it up in Creswell, Ore.
Jarred Texter of Lancaster, who was the medalist at the local qualifier last month at Trump National-Philadelphia, also will attempt sectional qualifying at Woodmont.