Five players with ties to the East Valley have qualified through sectional play for next week’s U.S. Open.
Earning spots earlier this week in the field for the national championship, which will be played at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., were Jason Allred, Ben Hayes, Michael Derminio, Chris Nallen and Kevin Stadler.
Derminio, a former Arizona State standout who grew up in the East Valley and lives in San Diego, was the medalist at Daly City, Calif., where he shot rounds of 70-68. It will be the first U.S. Open for Derminio, who plays on the Scottsdalebased Grey Goose Gateway Tour.
Also leading the way at his sectional site was Hayes, a Scottsdale native who came up No. 1 in Columbus, Ohio after rounds of 67-64. Hayes, a former All-American at USC, splits his time between the Canadian Tour and the Grey Goose.
Allred, who played on the PGA Tour in 2005, and is currently on the Nationwide Tour, qualified at St. Charles Ill. Allred also lives in Scottsdale, as do Nallen and Stadler, who qualified at the “Michelle Wie’’ site in Summit, N.J.
In all, 14 pros with East Valley ties will be in the field. Those who were previously exempt from qualifying include Mark Calcavecchia, Tim Clark, Mark Hensby, Steve Jones, Tom Lehman, Billy Mayfair, Arron Oberholser, Geoff Oglivy and Ted Purdy.
Clark and Hensby tied for third in last year’s U.S. Open played at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. Oberholser finished ninth.
CHIP SHOTS: The biggest surprise of this week’s sectional qualifying was 15-year-old Tadd Fujikawa, who earned the one and only spot up for grabs in Honolulu. He is the second-youngest player to ever qualify for the national championship, the youngest being Tyrell Garth, who was 14 when he played in the 1941 U.S. Open at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
Michelle Wie beat Fujikawa in the local qualifier held in Honolulu last month, but Wie opted to play her sectional rounds in New Jersey, where she missed qualifying by five strokes against a seasoned field tour players. The reason Wie went against a tougher field farther from home is that she is playing this week in the LPGA Championship in Baltimore, which is about a three-hour drive from the New Jersey site.