|Chris Crawford of Spring Mill CC warms up on the practice putting green between U.S. Open Sectionals rounds.|
Spring Mill's Chris Crawford makes U.S. Open, again
Chris Crawford and Canoe Brook Country Club just go together.
| Scorecards |
For a second straight year at the Summit, N.J. venue, Spring Mill Country Club’s Crawford earned a spot in the U.S. Open Championship. This year, instead of needing a 40-footer for birdie on the final hole of regulation, Crawford stamped his ticket with consistent shot making and putting. He finished the 36-hole qualifier at 8-under par and in a tie for second place. Former PGA Tour and now Web.com Tour member Daniel Chopra earned medalist honors at the site with a score of 11 under.
The 117th U.S. Open is June 12-18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisc.
Crawford, who is set to graduate from Drexel University next week, put himself into contention with a 6-under first round on Canoe Brook’s North Course, the more difficult and longer of the two tracks. He found himself in second place behind fellow amateur Scott Harvey of Greensboro, N.C. after the first 18 holes. Harvey, a former U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion (2014) and Walker Cupper (2015), posted a 9-under 63 in the first round.
Crawford kept giving himself birdie chances in the final round, eventually finishing the South Course in 2 under. He carded one birdie, one bogey and seven pars on his final nine holes.
“Obviously I’m thrilled. I played really solid. I’m happy I didn’t have to have any last-minute heroics again,” said Crawford on his way back home to Bensalem, Pa. “I’m really happy with the way I played, especially on the last nine holes. It’s tough. You are tired after a long day, but I didn’t really make any mistakes. Ben [Feld] caddied again for me today. We were talking about the shots we hit last year. It was a comfortable day.”
Feld, Drexel’s golf coach, won the Golf Association of Philadelphia’s Middle-Amateur Championship presented by Callaway Golf last week.
Crawford’s back-to-back U.S. Open berths are believed to be the first for a local amateur since R. Jay Sigel did so in 1984-85.
The accounting major punched his ticket at the turn of his first round. He birdied the par 5, No. 18 – the same hole he sank the improbable, decisive 40-footer a year ago – with a run of the mill fairway, layup and wedge to 10 feet. He then kept hitting solid shot after solid shot and drained “a lot of good mid-range putts.”
Erin Hills isn’t a foreign venue for Crawford.
He competed in the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship there as a 17-year-old.
Crawford, 23, remembers it as a long course he was ready physically to tackle.
“I wasn’t big enough or strong enough then,” said Crawford. “You have to be able to hit it a long way. Obviously, my golf game is a little different now. I still have the yardage book and everything from that Amateur. I have to find that when I get back home.”
Plans are for Feld to be on the bag. Last year, Feld’s mother Jill got married the same weekend forcing him to miss looping for his then college player at Oakmont Country Club.
Crawford, however, will be the one missing something this year, his college graduation.
“Last year was a great experience hanging out and competing against those guys” said Crawford. “This year, ideally, I would like to be able to compete.”
Last year at Oakmont, Crawford carded a pair of 76s to miss the cut. During a practice round earlier in the week, Crawford’s caddie broke his ankle while raking a bunker.
During his time as a member of the Drexel golf team, he became the program’s first-ever CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) Men’s Golfer of the Year in 2014. An 11-time CAA Golfer of the Week, Crawford led the Dragons in stroke average (71.8) in his final year of athletic eligibility (2015-16).
Like they say at Drexel, #DragonsEverywhere.