Angus Ricks, from Arlington Va., carved out a 4-under-par 32-36–68 in late afternoon to lead the way in qualifying for the 101st Amateur championship of the Washington Metropolitan Golf Association at Norbeck Country Club in Rockville, August 1.
Ricks, 18, a St. Albans School senior, opened with four front-nine birdies, then came home with two birdies, two bogeys The last birdie, at the 17th, enabled him to get by Pieter DeGroot, from Potomac, who had posted 33-36–69 in the early afternoon.
Ricks, playing in the event for the first time, said most of his birdies were in the 10-foot range. His position came as a surprise, however, because he reported,” I’ve had a terrible summer.”
DeGroot, 19, must have had more than 100 feet of putts, as he included birdies from 20 and 25 feet (twice) in his collection. He was even through three holes, but, as he said, “once I got going. . . ” Birdies at 4-5-6 will do that, and he went on to have two birdies (one a 25-footer on 18 to take the lead at that point) and two bogeys on the back nine. For the round, he followed a bogey with a birdie three times to keep it going.
Four other players were under par, which was 36-36–72 for the 6,881-yard course. Rick Sorkin, from Rockville, had three front-nine birdies while shooting 34, then hit every green on the back, getting three more birdies in the process of putting up a 70.
He was later joined by Teddy Zinsner, from Alexandria, Va., and Dan Falls, from Columbia. Zinsner, 20, a Yale University junior, highlighted his tour with 5 back nine birdies, while Falls had four birdies, two bogeys.
Sean Heintzelman, from Silver Spring, also birdied the 18th to get to 71.
Defending champion Charlie Winegardner was an automatic qualifier and placed at the top of the 32-man draw. Two other past champions made the field, Bart Mease (2017) with a 73 and Evan Santa (2016) with a playoff at 74.
With 31 places available, the cut fell at 75 and there was a 10-for-7 playoff at 74 that, surprisingly, went only one hole. A birdie on a 17-foot putt at the seventh green by Nicholas Graziano, of Chevy Chase, plus six players with 4’s, filled the flight and left the three 5’s on the outside.
Joining Graziano and Santa in earning playoff spots were Jeremy Barto, Vienna, Va.; Bryan Morris, Beltsville; Nicholas Infanti, Clarksburg; University Park.
Another who got in was Mac Webster, from Lutherville, who had recovered from a mid-June broken rib to make his first start back a good, although erratic one, getting in with 73. He had four birdies in a row and a total of five while shooting 31 on the opening nine, then had two back-nine drives lead to trouble and enough other woes to end at 42.
Two rounds on August 2-3 are scheduled to reduce the field to the two finalists for August 4.