ZIMBABWEAN teenage golf sensation Sean Crocker enhanced his rising profile as one of the top junior golfers in the world after advancing to the final round of the United States Open Championship qualifying stage recently.
The US Open is the second of the four major championships in golf after the Masters, Open Championship and the US PGA Championship and will this year take place at the iconic Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania from June 10-16.
The 16-year-old US-based Crocker had a great outing on the links after beating 82 other hopefuls on his way to winning the first qualifying tournament for the US Open at La Purisima Golf course in California.
Crocker, who finished as the highest placed amateur golfer at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open in April, continued with his good form, managing four birdies and a pair of bogeys to shoot an impressive two under-par 70 in the 18-hole qualifier.
He finished a shot clear of his nearest rival American Daniel Wax who shot a one-under-par 71 while his compatriot Johnny Ruiz finished on even-par 72 with Grant Doverspike shooting a 73.
Another American Brian Gonzales won a 9-for-1 playoff for the fifth and final qualifying spot.
After his win in California, Crocker’s road to the US Open continues next week with sectional qualifying – the second and final stage of qualification, at the Newport Beach Country Club in California next Monday.
Played over 36 holes in one day, sectional qualifying is a test of skill and endurance, with only a handful of available spots at each site.
The number of qualifying spots is determined by the quality and quantity of the field at each of the 11 sites around the US.
In April, Crocker, who is the son of former Zimbabwe Test cricketer Gary Crocker carded rounds of 69, 74, 72 and 73 for a total 288 to finish as the best placed amateur at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open on a respectable position 31.
Should Crocker manage to qualify for the US Open, he would have followed in the footsteps of local legends such as former world number one Nick Price and Tony Johnstone.
The talented young player is also currently a front runner to represent Zimbabwe in the second edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, from August 16-28 next year.
2013 U.S. Open Local Qualifying – La Purisima Golf course, California Top Five
Sean Crocker (a) – WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF. 70
Daniel Wax – PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIF. 71
Johnny Ruiz (a) – CAMARILLO, CALIF. 72
Grant Doverspike – BAKERSFIELD, CALIF. 73
Brian Gonzales – LAKEWOOD, CALIF. 74