Kyle Sterbinksy first qualified for the U.S. Amateur as a sophomore in high school in 2012. He became the youngest qualifying medalist in the long history of the BMW Philadelphia Amateur in 2013. As a freshman at Wake Forest this spring, he helped the Demon Deacons earn a trip to the NCAA Championship at Eugene Country Club in Oregon.
So it should probably not be a surprise to see the 19-year-old Sterbinsky, a Peddie School product who lives in Yardley, earn medalist honors in a U.S. Amateur qualifier administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia Wednesday at White Manor Country Club and Aronimink Golf Club.
Sterbinsky, playing out of Huntingdon Valley Country Club, backed up a 3-under 68 at the 7,015-yard, par-71 White Manor layout with an even-par 70 in the afternoon at the 7,074-yard, par-70 Donald Ross gem that is Aronimink for a 3-under 138 total that was two shots better than the 140 posted by Henry Shimp, a prized Stanford recruit out of Charlotte, N.C.
More importantly, it earned Sterbinsky a trip to another classic American course, Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Mich., for the U.S. Amateur Aug. 15 to 21.
Sterbinsky has been working on his game with John Dunigan, the director of instruction at White Manor and once a teaching pro at Aronimink.
“I saw a lot of progression today, which was nice,” Sterbinsky told the GAP website. “It was a long day, but I played solid the whole day. I struck the ball really well all day and fortunately got the putter rolling.
“I’ve been working pretty hard on the greens, so it’s good to see some work pay off. I hit some really good putts today.”
Shimp opened with a 71 at Aronimink and added a 2-under 69 at White Manor in fashioning his 1-under 140 total. Matt Oshrine, a senior at Duke from Baltimore, had a 71 at Aronimink and a 70 at White Manor to finish third at even-par 141.
Only two tickets to Oakland Hills remained and Aronimink’s Michael Davis, a former Malvern Prep standout and a junior at Princeton, grabbed one of them. The other went to Michael Boss, a recent Flagler College graduate from Lewiston, N.Y., as he and Davis finished tied for fourth at 1-over 142.
Davis, the BMW Philadelphia Amateur runnerup in 2015 and a semifinalist this year, opened with an even-par 71 at White Manor and then grinded out a 1-over 71 on his home course in the afternoon. Boss had a 1-over 71 at Aronimink in the morning and matched par at White Manor with a 71 in the afternoon.
Heading the near-miss list is first alternate Sam Soeth, the former Marple Newtown standout who is a sophomore at Temple. Soeth opened with a 2-over 73 at White Manor, his home course, and matched par in the afternoon at Aronimink with a 70 for a 143 total.
The other alternate is Robert Maguire of Pottstown, whose day mirrored that of Soeth’s with a 73 in the morning at White Manor and a 70 in the afternoon at Aronimink for a 143 total.
P.J. Acierno, a fifth-year senior at La Salle who was a scholastic standout at La Salle High School, also failed to qualify with a 144 total, but deserves mention for the brilliant 4-under 66 he posted in the morning at Aronimink. He faltered in the afternoon with a 78 at White Manor, but that was a big-time round of golf in the morning at a course that regularly appears on top-100-in-America lists.
Ross Pilliod, a Saint Joseph’s sophomore from Sinking Spring, represented the Stonewall caddyshack well as he bounced back from a morning 77 at Aronimink with an even-par 71 at White Manor for a 7-over 148 total.