The Huntingdon Valley Country Club pair of Sean Seese and Ben Smith put together a better-ball total of 8-under 64 at Whitford Country Club in Exton Monday to take medalist honors in qualifying for next spring’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which will be played at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina.
The 33-year-old Seese, a former La Salle High and Saint Joseph’s standout, and Smith teed it up in a qualifier for the Four-Ball a year ago, but made 18 straight pars. They had an early stumble at the 6,736-yard, par-72 Whitford layout with a bogey at the par-3 second, but then ripped off nine birdies in the ensuing 16 holes to finish two shots clear of the field of heavyweight duos.
“Ben is just super consistent,” Seese told the Pennsylvania Golf Association website concerning his partner. “I actually texted him, asking if he wanted to play again because I’m sure he probably gets calls from everyone. I got like one call, so I didn’t want to keep him from a good partner. (Smith) told me he wanted to do it again and I’m glad we pulled it out today.”
Smith, 29, came up with a big birdie when he chipped in from off the green at the par-4 seventh. It came in the middle of a stretch of four straight birdies from the sixth through the 10th that really got the Huntingdon Valley duo rolling.
Seese finished it off when he hit a wedge to 10 feet at the par-4 18th and rolled in a birdie putt to get the pair to 8-under.
Only two tickets to Pinehurst were up for grabs for the 23 teams that teed it up at Whitford and the second berth went to the Whitford pair of David West and Chris Yard. West, 56, and Yard, 45, prevailed on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff with Christopher Ault and Phillip Bartholomew after each team carded a 6-under 66.
Yard dropped in a 15-footer for birdie on the par-5 fourth hole to send him and West to Pinehurst. The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship tees off May 27, 2017.
The duo of Ault, who reached the round of 16 in last month’s U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonewall, and Bartholomew is the first alternate.
The second alternate went to the powerful team of Merion Golf Club’s Michael McDermott and Huntingdon Valley’s Jeff Osberg, the finalists in the BMW Philadelphia Amateur won by McDermott at Merion this summer.
McDermott and Osberg were one of three teams to card a 5-under 67. McDermott, a quarterfinalist in the U.S. Mid-Am at Stonewall, and Osberg qualified for this year’s U.S. Four-Ball at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., but failed to advance to match play.