Malaysia’s top amateur Ervin Chang carded a superb six-under-par 66 to win yesterday’s U.S Open Local Qualifying tournament at Worthington Manor Golf Club in Urbana, Maryland.
The 20-year-old Chang joins 500 players from 8,602 starters at 110 local qualifying sites who advance to the one-day, 36-hole sectional qualifying stage. The sectional qualifiers will be played from late May to early June at 10 U.S. venues and one each in Canada, Japan and England. Chang has named the sectional qualifier at Woodmont Country Club in Maryland on June 3 as his preferred venue.
A junior at Liberty University in Virginia, Chang was in excellent form as he nailed eight birdies against two birdies to top the leaderboard by one shot from team-mate Gabriel Lench. Eight golfers from 119 at the Worthington Manor qualifier made it through to the sectional stage (the number of qualifiers from each local event is dependent on the size of the field).
“My ball striking, putting inside 15 feet and distance control were really good … everything was just working well for me today,” said Chang, who was playing in a U.S. Open qualifier for the first time.
While Chang is hoping to make it past the sectionals and play in the season’s third Major at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links in California, his current focus is to do well for Liberty University in next week’s NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) regional stage.
“It would mean a lot to me if I get the chance to play the US Open because it is one of four Majors in golf and I get to go up against the world’s top professionals – but that’s after the sectional qualifying. My focus now is to play well in the NCAA regionals and hopefully make it into the finals,” noted Chang, adding that he has never played at Pebble Beach before.
21 golfers earned starts at last year’s US Open at Shinnecock Hills via the local and sectional qualifiers.