Local Sports Journal

One near-miss, but that was it Monday for the three players with Muskegon ties competing in the Sectional Qualifying round for the 114th U.S. Open Golf Tournament.

Doug LaBelle II, of Charlotte, N.C., had the best showing of the three. LaBelle plays on the Web.com and occasionally on the regular Professional Golfers Association tour.

He had advanced to a qualifying sectional at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tenn., by winning a playoff spot on May 12 at Muskegon Country Club. LaBelle made a run at a spot in the U.S. Open only to miss it by one stroke.

LaBelle carded rounds of 68 and 70 for a five-under-par 138 only to fall one stroke short of the 137 (-minus) needed to earn one of 13 spots although a playoff was needed to decide the final spots.  He finished in an eight-way tie for 17th in the 36-hole sectional.

Muskegon’s Andy Ruthkoski, another playoff qualifier at MCC, carded an even-par 142 on rounds of 72 and 70 at Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ohio.

However, Ruthkoski fell six shots short of the 136 needed to be one of three players advancing out of the field of 63. He wound up in a four-way tie for 16th place in the Springfield sectional.

The third player with ties to the MCC qualifying playoff, Randall Hutchinson, of Traverse City, turned in rounds of 75 and 73 for a 148 at Rockville, Md.

Hutchinson was seven strokes back of the 141, three-under-par, needed to advance on the Woodmont Country Club’s two courses. The Rockville qualifier advanced four of its 59 players to the June 12-15 114th U.S. Open.

The Open will be played in Pinehurst, N.C.