Williamsville's Billy Gaffney shot a 76 in the local qualifier at Pittsford's Oak Hill Country Club earlier this week and has advanced to sectional qualifying for the 117th U.S. Open.
Gaffney's finished in the three-way tie for second at Oak Hill, which has hosted U.S. Opens, PGA Championships and the Ryder Cup. The setup for the qualifier was comparable to the high standards golfers would see at those events.
Canada's Chang Wan Woo was the medalist, shooting 75. Joining Gaffney at 76 and also advancing were Adam Condello of Fairport and Colin Dubnik of Rochester. Seventy-eight players contended at Oak Hill, one of three qualifying sites in the state.
Gaffney teamed with Jeff Wolniewicz to win the 2016 NYS Men’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Leatherstocking Golf Course in Cooperstown just a few months before turning pro last summer. He also won the Buffalo District Golf Association Individual and tied for 53rd at the Porter Cup.
Sectional qualifying in the U.S. will be held June 5 at 10 sites:
Big Canyon Country Club & Newport Beach Country Club, Newport Beach, Calif.; Jupiter Hills Club (Hill Course), Tequesta, Fla.; Hawks Ridge Golf Club, Ball Ground, Ga.; Woodmont Country Club (North Course), Rockville, Md.; Canoe Brook Country Club (North and South Courses), Summit, N.J.
Also, Brookside Golf & Country Club & Lakes Golf & Country Club, Columbus, Ohio; Springfield Country Club, Springfield, Ohio; Germantown Country Club & Ridgeway Country Club, Memphis, Tenn.; Lakewood Country Club, Dallas, and Tacoma Country & Golf Club, Lakewood, Wash.
The USGA also will stage sectional qualifiers in Japan and England.
The U.S. Open will be contested June 15-18 at Erin Hills, a public course in Erin, Wis.
According to the USGA, two golfers have won a U.S. Open after starting out in the local qualifier -- Ken Venturi (1964) and Orville Moody (1969).