July 26, 2006
WARWICK, R.I. - Rhode Island golfer Ben Spitz qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship, Tuesday, after finishing first at the USGA Sectional Qualifier at Potowomut Golf Club in Warwick. The senior-to-be finished at six-under par over two rounds for a three-stroke victory to earn an automatic berth in the 111th U.S. Amateur Championship to be played at Hazeltine National in Minnesota on August 21-27.
Spitz qualified for the sectional after winning the Commonwealth Cup as the Massachusetts Amateur Champion last Monday (July 17) with a 5-and-4 victory in the match-play final, held at Worcester Country Club.
Four other URI golfers also finished in the top-50 of the sectional qualifier. Jason Pannone finished 12th at two-over par (72-72-144) ahead of younger brother John Pannone, who ended up in a tie for 19th at seven-over par (75-74-149). James McDonough tied for 27th place at nine-over par (76-75-151), while Devon Quigley tied for 48th at 16-over par (77-81-158).
The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA championship, was first played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. Previous champions include Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickleson.