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Arthur, Anthon lead Monday Qualifying
Phil Arthur ended up scoring the lowest with a 59 (-9) during an overcast USDGC Monday Qualifying, but surprise competitor Josh Anthon, who bought a plane ticket from California just for his shot, had everybody’s attention as he also qualified with a 62 (-6).
Others getting their last chance invites to the Open Flight included Zach Newhouse of Indian Trail, N.C., 64 (-4), Brian McRee of Louisburg, N.C., 67 (-1), and Miko Fyhr, of Helsinki, Finland, 67 (-1). The Monday Qualifier was run by Dynamic Discs.
Seeing the wet conditions and the modest numbers battling the Winthrop Gold Course, Anthon, who was last there in 2009 when he broke the course record with a 53 (-15), said he played more conservative than usual in order to ensure a spot in his ninth USDGC.
“As long as I’m in. Now I can go for the good scores,” said Anthon who has largely been absent from the PDGA tour scene this year.
For Arthur, his third crack at Winthrop on Monday produced the round he wanted after two sluggish starts. Restarting after hole 4 and then again after hole 10, the 2009 Masters World Champion found his groove even after three chain slip-outs for birdie early in his third qualifying attempt. By the back nine he was rolling, collecting six birdies.
After the round, Arthur felt honored to be a part of another Championship and the chance to compete with the best in the world.
“It feels like a privilege to come out and play this event,” said Arthur.
Returning for his first USDGC since 2008, Brian McRee had the early lead with his 67(-1), but as the day ended he was hanging onto one of the last spots.
McRee, who was hoping for lower, said he had to adapt to the windy and wet course conditions which, were nothing like the practice rounds he played Friday and Saturday.
“I just tried to treat each shot like it was a brand new shot that I’d never seen before,” said McRee.
The Championship will only be Anthon’s third tournament of the year.
He said work has kept him away from competitive play this year, but he admits that his main tournament concerns are just the Worlds and the USDGC.
Anthon, who restarted once on Monday, had plans of playing the Worlds in Charlotte but an issue with sign-up prevented him from going, he said.
The last month and a half, he said he’s been training hard for the Championship and he also won the Gold Pan Open in September by 12 strokes.
After his big USDGC finish in 2009, a leg injury kept him from competing in 2010. He said after Monday’s round that his leg was a little sore from not seeing much recent action, but in general it was fine. He was glad he had a day to recuperate.
He was also glad to be back in Rock Hill after his three year absence.
“I love this place,” said Anthon.