Wingerd extends his roll, qualifies for U.S. Amateur

Towson senior makes 7th straight USGA event


July 27, 2004|By Daniel Lyght | Daniel Lyght,SUN STAFF

Jamie Hebbel watched Billy Wingerd golf all day yesterday. For two rounds, he watched him shot after shot. As with every round of golf, there were ups and downs, but for Wingerd there were mostly ups.

One might think Hebbel, as the caddie of another golfer in Wingerd's group, would have been a little less vocal with his comment, but it was just there to be said.

"He makes it look like chump change, but this hole is really difficult," Hebbel said after Wingerd knocked his ball about 8 feet from the cup with his second shot on a converted par-5 hole.

Wingerd came into the U.S. Amateur qualifier at Chestnut Ridge Country Club as the expected medalist. There was other solid competition there, but being that he qualified for the event last year as well as in 2002, the odds were that he'd take it. And he did.

Shooting a 69 in the morning round, and a 67 in the afternoon, Wingerd, a rising senior at Towson University, claimed another crown this summer and another chance to play with the country's best at the U.S. Amateur at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., Aug. 16- Aug. 22.

"I'm just lucky," Wingerd said. "The chips are just falling in my direction."

The chips have fallen Wingerd's direction quite a bit over the past couple of years. This is his seventh straight time qualifying for a U.S. Golf Association event, including the past four U.S. Amateur Public Links championships.

Jamy Farrah, 22, a recent Georgetown University graduate, and Ray Sheedy, 18, a member of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte golf team, also qualified for the Amateur, shooting 142 and 145, respectively. They will be competing in their first USGA events.

"I've been considering turning pro in the next month or so," said Farrah. "I was just waiting for this tournament to stay amateur because it's been one of my dreams for a while to qualify for the U.S. Amateur."

Sheedy almost didn't make the qualifier after getting stuck in traffic. He arrived at the course 10 minutes before his tee time, but nobody seemed to notice. He eagled his first hole.

"I was telling the people in my group, `I'm never going to get here and warm up ever again.' "

Wingerd feels like this could be a breakthrough summer for him. He won the 83rd Maryland Amateur Championship in June and advanced further than he ever has in a USGA event when he made the cut in the U.S. Amateur Public Links in Maple Grove, Minn. July 14.

"Playing as well as I've been playing, my confidence is so high," Wingerd said. "I really wanted to make it to see what I could do. So I'm really looking forward to it and I like my chances a lot."

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