Sneak Peek: Inside U.S. Open Local Qualifying May 18, 2016 | BETHLEHEM, Pa. By Pete Kowalski, USGA

The Golf Association of Philadelphia ran the U.S. Open local qualifier at Silver Creek C.C. (Courtesy/GAP)

Two vans arrived at 6 a.m. Monday at Silver Creek Country Club in Hellertown, Pa.

The necessary golf administration materials in numerous heavy-duty shipping cases – two-way radios, tents, flag banners, course maps, extension cords, power strips, score cards, laptops, tape and sharpies, among many other supplies – came along with members of the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) for U.S. Open local qualifying.

Approximately 18 staff and volunteers were scheduled to work a long day, from the first starting time at 7:30 a.m. through the completion of play. Provided there is no playoff, the team will have everything packed up as late as 8 p.m. before they drive home.

Ninety-one players competed for six spots and two alternate positions in U.S. Open sectional qualifying, which will take place at 10 domestic sites on June 6. The 116th U.S. Open Championship will take place June 16-19 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.

Chris Roselle, GAP tournament director, left his home at about 4:40 a.m., picked up a co-worker and drove about 70 minutes to Silver Creek for the second of the Association’s U.S. Open local qualifying competitions this season. The first for 2016 was held at Moselem Springs Golf Club in Fleetwood, Pa., on May 12.

Roselle, who has been a full-time GAP employee since 2007, shared the overall on-site duties of the qualifying site with Kirby Martin, GAP director of competitions who is the designated official in charge, and P.J. Boatwright Jr. intern Matt Paolucci.

Roselle, a slim bundle of energy, wore a wool cap and sunglasses and was wrapped up for the early-morning chill and wind. When asked about the unusual May temperature, he replied with a smile: “It was cold.”

From assuring course conditions to posting scores (on the Internet and on the small outdoor scoreboard) to monitoring pace of play, and myriad other competition details such as answering a large dose of rudimentary questions, Martin, Roselle, Paolucci and the rest of the staff handled everything with a smile and ease. Communications staffer Dan Scofield was taking photos, posting for social media and serving as the local media liaison. They even boasted an intern, Mac Ryan, who was starting his summer duties that very day. It wasn’t the first time they have lent their invaluable services to the USGA, and it showed in their precision.

“We are like the Boy Scouts – always prepared,” said Roselle. “I have sons in the Scouts.”


Competitor Brandon Matthews blasts from a bunker during U.S. Open local qualifying at Silver Creek CC. (Courtesy/GAP)

The GAP staff never let the weather put a chill on the day, working instead to provide the best possible U.S. Open qualifying experience to all competitors. The field included 2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links finalist Martin Ureta, who is now a golf professional; 2013 U.S. Amateur quarterfinalist Brandon Matthews; host professionals Peter Lovenguth and Bart Tizio; 51-year-old three-time U.S. Open competitor Perry Parker, from Laguna Niguel, Calif.; as well as many local collegiate players and local hopefuls.

The assistance provided by GAP to the USGA is but one example of what takes place annually at more than 100 local qualifying sites, and these groups are vital to assuring a successful U.S. Open.

The list of GAP staff and volunteers at Silver Creek:

Executive Committee:  John R. Choyka, Robert M. Morey

Official In Charge: Kirby Martin

Staff: Christopher A. Roselle, Matthew R. Paolucci, Mac Ryan, Dan Scofield

Starters: Joseph E. Patterson, Steven H. Hashem, Lloyd H. Jones, Michael R. DeLucia

Scorecard Checkpoints:  Clifford K. Bayuk, Douglas S. Callantine, Michael C. Kyle, Scott J. Siravo

Timing Checkpoints: William Kovach

Rules Committee: Walter A. Haenn, III, John W. Green

Pete Kowalski is director of championship communications for the USGA. Contact him