U.S. Open hopefuls tee up in Colonie

May 17, 2017 02:09 PM

COLONIE - We all strive to reach the top of our field. Some make it, others don't. Dozens of golfers got a chance at the U.S. Open on Wednesday.

Each spring, thousands enter for an opportunity to reach the top of their chosen profession -- or hobby for the amateurs, the U.S. Open.

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Sixty-seven gathered at Shaker Ridge Country Club including 35 amateurs like 27-year old Alex Olbrych of Niskayuna, now working in Boston. He was a greenskeeper at this course for a short time. He was first on the tee.

"It's pretty cool because you're two tournaments away from being in the U.S. Open. It's the only championship where you get that. For a public guy, for a guy who's not a pro, I'll give it my best shot and see what happens," he said.

"The USGA started out running amateur competitions, not professional and it's always been this way, amateurs have always had a shot, an opportunity to play in this championship," said Andrew Hickey with NYSGA.

"I'm an accountant by trade, so I work at a desk all day but the opportunity to go out and play with the guys you see on TV is awesome and hopefully I can one day make it there," said Jim Gifford.

"That's why golf's such a great sport. If you're good enough to play, you can play," said Scott Berliner, Asst. Pro, Hiland GC. "It's not like you have to be drafted for baseball or basketball or football or anything like that." 

Rotterdam-native and Siena graduate, Bryan Bigley, has gotten through the local qualifier seven times.

"As a golfer, it's probably the pinnacle of a tournament you could get into for being a nobody," he said.

Now, he's a pro based in North Carolina, chasing his PGA Tour dream.

"I know it pretty well and am playing well so it's just a matter of putting it together, moving on and catching a flight and playing well this week."

This is just the first step, the next one is even bigger -- 36 holes in sectional qualifying. If you get through that, you're in the U.S. Open.


WNYT Staff

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