BLOOMFIELD, Conn. – Eric Dietrich, the 2016-17 senior co-captain of the UConn men’s golf team, has made it over the first difficult hurdle toward competing for the U.S. Open Championship.
Dietrich (Cheshire, Conn.), was one of only five golfers out of a field of 79 to advance out of a U.S. Open local qualifying tournament held at Wintonbury Hills Golf Course in Bloomfield. The five will move on to a sectional qualifier on June 5 at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J., one of 12 sectional qualifiers across the U.S., England, and Japan. The top finishers in the sectionals advance to the 117th U.S. Open Championship, scheduled for June 12-18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.
Dietrich fired a 2-under par 68 at Wintonbury, good enough to be part of a six-way tie for third place behind leaders Jeffrey Evanier (-4) and Adam Rainaud (-3). The six who tied for third – Dietrich, Evan Russell, Cody Paladino, Jordan Gossler, Kevin Riley and Brent Paladino – entered a playoff for the three open spots.
Dietrich, Russell, and Cody Paladino each parred the first playoff hole, the par-4 10th hole, and were awarded the sectional berths when the other three bogeyed.
Others competing in the local qualifier with UConn ties included former co-captain Zach Zaback (Farmington, Conn.), rising junior Blake Kelley (Manchester, Conn.), and rising junior Nick Harrington (Chaplin, Conn.).
Dietrich, who graduated from UConn two weeks ago, has been a solid performer for the Huskies throughout his four-year career, with two first-place finishes, 12 finishes in the Top 10 and 17 finishes in the Top 20. This season, he averaged 72.5 per round, with 12 rounds of par or better, including two season-low rounds of 66.
Dietrich is a two-time All-American Conference pick, has also been named to the PING All-Northeast Regional and All-New England Teams, and qualified for the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship.
Before the Open Sectional, Dietrich plans to play in next week’s Conn. State Golf Association Russell C. Palmer Cup in Waterbury, in which he finished fifth last year, and then will team with UConn teammate Jimmy Hervol (Hopkinton, Mass.) in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball on May 27-31 at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in North Carolina.
Dietrich has already qualified for the PGA MacKenzie Tour-Canada and plans on turning pro and making his pro debut on the tour in early June.