Minnesota Golf Association

Israelson and Miller Medal, Meyer and Polk Advance to U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying

May 6, 2019

 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  STILLWATER, Minn. – In 1982 Minnesotan Bill Israelson played in his first of three U.S. Opens, which was held at Pebble Beach Golf Links, where Tom Watson finished two shots better than Jack Nicklaus to win his sixth of eight total majors, and Israelson would go on to finish 63rd.
 
With the help of four birdies over his final nine holes Monday, Andrew Israelson posted a 3-under par 69 Monday at StoneRidge Golf Club to earn a share of medalist honors with Ross Miller to advance from the first stage of qualifying, in hopes of following in his father’s footsteps when the 2019 championship returns to Pebble Beach next month.
 
“I wanted to make the [U.S. Amateur] last year when it was at Pebble Beach, but I think it would be really special to somehow make it there and play in a U.S. Open where my dad played—and played pretty well.
 
“I told him I’d never put him on the bag when I was about 12, but I think I’d have to put him on the bag so he could reminisce a little bit.”
 
Coming off his junior season this spring at North Dakota State University, Israelson carded an early birdie Monday, but with back-to-back bogeys at the third and fourth holes, Israelson would turn at 1-over for the round.
 
“I was thinking I wouldn’t have to go out and shoot 30 on the back, but I ended up shooting 32, which is pretty close,” he said. “I was hitting good shots and gave myself looks. I only missed one green on the back.”
 
An early birdie and a par save to begin his inward nine gave Israelson a boost as he would card three more birdies over his final six holes.
 
“I knew at that point I was in control and in the driver’s seat,” he said after qualifying Monday. “I was really happy with how I played. I struck the ball really well the entire day—I could’ve drove the ball a little better, but kind of hung around on the greens and started to find some putts and then put myself in really good positions on the back nine,” Israelson said Monday.
 
After finishing the season First Team All-Conference for the Bison, Israelson had his sights set high, despite it being his first attempt at qualifying for the U.S. Open.
 
“This is exactly what I wanted; I wanted to end up being medalist. I had a putt on 18 that I could’ve went at a little harder, but I knew where I was at and didn’t want to mess anything up,” he said. “I’ve been hitting the ball really well to finish the college season and I’ve been rolling the rock really well. I wanted to make a few more putts, but just couldn’t find the bottom of the cup and started to find it on the back nine.”
 
Israelson will attempt to move through the final stage of qualifying in early June at Hawks Ridge Golf Club in Ball Ground, Ga.
 
Miller, who is coming off of wins at the 2018 Tapemark Charity Pro-Am and Minnesota Golf Champions, as well as a runner-up finish at the Minnesota State Open, moves through the first stage of qualifying for the second time.
 
The former Minnesota State golfer carded a 3-under 69 at the Wilds Club in 2014 to advance to sectional qualifying.
 
“The difference this time around was that I don’t think I truly believed I could qualify for the U.S. Open or make the cut. I believe that I can do that now,” Miller said Monday.
 
Starting his round on the ninth hole Monday, Miller carded a bogey on his opening hole, but bounced back quickly by making eagle at the par-5 11th. Following a “sloppy” bogey at the 14th, Miller stuck his approach inside of six feet at the 15th to get his round going.
 
Adding a birdie at the 17th, Miller moved to 2-under for the round, but would give back a stroke at the third with a bogey. A pair of birdies over his final five holes would put Miller in on top of the leaderboard along with Israelson at 69.
 
“Today was kind of up-and-down—it took me a couple of holes to get the nerves in check. I hit some good golf shots and made my way around,” Miller said. “I have been playing pretty well so there are expectations. Usually having no expectations is good, but I haven’t played a competitive event in close to two months.
 
“You know the setup is going to be tough. The wind was blowing, the greens were fast and the pins were good, but there’s no reason to get crazy. I know that if I play my game and keep the ball in play, that I can usually shoot under par."
 
Christopher Meyer, formerly from Edina, Minn., took the early clubhouse lead Monday, posting a 1-under par 71. Meyer, a professional who now lives in Dallas, carded a pair of early birdies before falling back to even par with bogeys at the seventh and ninth holes.
 
A steady back nine saw Meyer card a pair of birdies against one bogey to finish at 71 and into a three-way tie for second.
 
Playing his front nine at 3-over, which included a quadruple-bogey at the par-4 fifth hole, Jesse Polk carded a pair of birdies and an eagle to surge up the leaderboard and into a tie for second with his round of 71.
 
Meyer and Polk would earn the final two qualifying positions by making par on the first playoff hole.
 
Frankie Capan, North Oaks, Minn., and Tommy Vining, of Sioux Falls, S.D., finished as first and second alternates, respectively.

 

Download Full Results: US Open Local Qualifying - StoneRidge Leaderboard 3.pdf


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