SUMMIT, NJ - Former Governor Livingston standout and Penn State sophomore Ryan Davis of Berkeley Heights attempted to secure his spot in his first-ever attempt at golf’s second major Monday and was in contention all the way until the final and 36th hole of his day.
Davis shot a 4-under-par 138 (67S-71N--138), finishing in a two-way tie for seventh place in a 36-hole U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying tournament on the North and South Courses of Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, New Jersey Monday. He won the second alternate spot in a playoff.
“It’s an absolute grind, it’s an all-day event. I got up at 5 a.m. this morning, played really well in the morning and gave myself a shot in the afternoon,” said Davis, who used to play a lot of high school matches on this course while at GL. “Played solid in the afternoon but was disappointed coming off the course.”
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81 golfers - 54 pros and 27 amateurs - competed for five spots plus two alternates, for the 118th U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Course in Southampton, New York from June 14-17.
Canoe Brook, which was one of 10 sites across the country hosting sectional qualifiers on Monday, is hosting the event for the 17th time since 1980.
Davis started his day on the 10th hole of the South Course at 8:33 a.m. and was paired with Naples, Florida-native and current PGA Tour member Dudley Hart. Hart is a two-time winner on Tour and has participated in the U.S. Open eight times.
Davis played perfectly putting himself into position for the afternoon with a 3-under 67 with back-to-back birdies on the par 4, 428-yard 16th and the par 3, 195-yard 17th holes. Starting his afternoon round at 1:43 p.m., he was in a six-way tie for third place.
Davis shot up to 5-under with back-to-back birdies on holes 3 and 4, but gave them back with a bogey on hole 6 and on the par 4, 418-yard 13th hole to fall back to 3-under, tied in a six-way tie for 8th place at the time with four holes to play. He then birdied the par 4, 375-yard 15th hole to move to 4-under, parred his last three holes and would have made a playoff for the fifth and final berth, but his 25-foot birdie attempt missed by a mere two inches.
“I hit two good shots. My third shot I wasn’t aggressive enough with it and unfortunately I couldn’t make the putt, but what are you going to do,” said Davis. “I’m taking away nothing but positives. I went in with no expectations and I knew I could play this well and I wasn’t going to force it all day and I’m just glad I gave myself a chance. I tried to read it the best I could and it just didn’t fall.”
Davis, a former three-time All-State selection and four-time All-Union County and All-Conference member, last week was named to the PING All-Northeast Region Team for the second straight season after completing his sophomore season at Penn State, where the program just competed in its fourth-straight NCAA Regional at the Ohio State Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio May 14-16.
The Nittany Lions placed sixth with a 25-over, missing out of qualifying for the National Championship by one shot. Davis shot 10-over for the regional to finish in a tie for 34th place. Back in April, Davis posted his first career top five finish with a 3-under to tie for second place at the Kepler Intercollegiate, also at the Ohio State Golf Club’s Scarlet Course.
Keep up-to-date with Ryan Davis’ final two seasons at Penn State by following @PennStateMGolf on Twitter.