July 22, 2013
LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. -
Temperatures that soared to 95 degrees last week didn’t seem to bother University of Connecticut golfer Corey Birch (Ridgefield, Conn.), who took medalist honors at the Links at Union Vale at the sectional qualifying round for the 113th U.S. Amateur Championship.
Birch, who will be a UConn sophomore this fall, will compete for the prestigious U.S. Amateur Championship, which will take place next month (Aug. 12-18) at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., and the Charles River Country Club in Newton, Mass.
Birch shot rounds of 69 and 70 in the 36-hole stroke play competition at the Links at Union Vale for a 5-under par total of 139, topping second-place Yaroslav Merkulov (70-70-140), a native of Penfield, N.Y., who attends Duke, by a single stroke. Merkulov also qualified to play for the U.S. Amateur Championship.
Steven Zychowski (141) of Mendham, N.J., and Jonathan Renza (143) of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., earned the two alternate spots. The sectional qualifying round included 72 players on the course that played to 6,810 yards.
Birch competed in three tournaments as a freshman for UConn in 2012-13, shooting in the 70s in seven of nine rounds with a low round of 71 in The Connecticut Cup, played at Ellington Ridge Country Club.
The field for the U.S. Amateur Championship will include 312 participants from all over the world. Each will play 18-holes of stroke play at one of the two Massachusetts courses, with the lowest 64 advancing to match play. Every one of the matches in that round will be held at The Country Club in Brookline, site of the 1999 Ryder Cup. The final weekend of the Championship, including the 36-hole championship match, will be nationally-televised by NBC.