They both shot 4-under-par 140 and advance to Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club.
By PHIL NOVAK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
Two Mahoning Valley golfers have qualified for the 101st U.S. Amateur Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Jonah Karzmer, 20, of Boardman and James Perry, 28, of Poland each finished with 4-under 140s in the U.S. Amateur Qualifier on Monday and Tuesday at Hawks Nest Golf Course and Wooster Country Club, both in Wooster.
They were two of four golfers who advanced past the regional qualifying tournament, one of 97 tournaments in the country.
"I was excited," Karzmer said. "I had kind of been hitting the ball bad the past week and I spent a lot of time at Squaw Creek practicing. I wasn't hitting it really bad, but I wasn't hitting it great the past couple weeks."
YSU student: Karzmer, a student at Youngstown State University, shot a 3-under 69 on the first day at Hawks Nest and a 1-under 71 on the second day at Wooster Country Club. He also has a plus-2 handicap at Squaw Creek Country Club.
"One of the guys I play with at Squaw Creek told me to remember that par is a good round, so I just went out and tried to par and I only bogeyed one hole," Karzmer said. He also birdied five holes.
"I just tried to hit fairways and greens and do well on my putts," he said. "I don't really do anything special. I just hit fairways and greens and I putt pretty well."
Perry, a 1995 graduate of Youngstown State and last year's Northeast Ohio Amateur Champion, matched Karzmer with a 3-under 69 at Hawks Nest and a 1-under 71 at Wooster. He has a plus-1 handicap at Tippecanoe.
"I didn't have great expectations," he said. "I haven't played in that many competitive tournaments [this year], and I just went out and decided to commit myself to every shot and whatever happens, happens."
Played differently: Though Karzmer and Perry finished with identical scores, Perry played the course differently. He had five bogeys, but birdied nine holes.
"I never played either golf course, so I was kind of hesitant," Perry said. "I didn't know where to hit it."
Now they both move on to Atlanta for the 312-player championship August 20-26 at East Lake Golf Club, home to the 1998 and 2000 PGA Tour Championships.
There, they will play 36 holes with the top 64 advancing to match play. The top two finishers qualify to play in both The Masters and the U.S. Open.
"My first goal is to make it to match play," Perry said. "The way I'm hitting the ball, if I can get my putter hot, I have a good chance of making it to match play."
Karzmer said, "I'm just going to go down there and try to do what I did up here: Hit my fairways and my greens and try to get into match play. You never know. The guy you're playing could a have a bad day."