Zac Potter has played in enough 18-hole qualifying tournaments as a professional golfer to know how costly a bogey or double bogey can be.
So when Potter finished the local qualifier for next month’s U.S. Open with one of each on Wednesday at Wichita Country Club, the former Wichita State golfer from Cheney figured he’d made his scoreboard watching a little more interesting.
“I was definitely a little disappointed,” Potter said. “I think I chose the incorrect club on No. 17 and made a tentative swing I obviously didn’t want to make. On (No.) 18, I wasn’t as worried about the bogey because I barely drove it in the rough and the hole was playing really tough.”
The 26-year-old Potter did enough on the other 16 holes — making eight birdies — to overcome a hiccup or two. Potter’s 2-under-par 69 tied former University of Tulsa golfer Stephen Carney for medalist honors in the first of two stages of qualifying for the U.S. Open, which is June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
With five golfers in Wednesday’s field advancing to the 36-hole sectional stage on June 3, Potter and Carney were joined by Potter’s former WSU teammate, Cameron Bishop (70), former Kansas State golfer Joe Ida (72) and Andrew Dahl of Salinas, Calif. (72).
Potter and Bishop got a regular dose of Wichita Country Club during their college playing days, as the course was part of the Shockers’ practice rotation. Bishop won the 2008 Kansas Amateur at WCC.
“I’m very comfortable out here,” said Bishop, who joined Potter and Carney under par despite starting with two bogeys. “I know where to miss it. It’s a bonus to be out here and have a chance to play this course. ”
Potter, who made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine and four consecutive birdies on the back nine, posted another solid round in an already successful month. Two weeks ago, the NGA Pro Golf Tour player advanced through Monday qualifying at the Web.com Tour event in Athens, Ga. He made the cut and tied for 37th.
“It was really nice to see some of the work I’ve been putting in pay off and get a little validation for what I’ve been doing,” Potter said. “I was very happy with that week, and took the same confidence into this. I feel a little more comfortable playing golf than I did a couple years ago, and I’d just like to keep it going that way.”
At Wichita C.C., par 71
Qualifiers – Stephen Carney, Tulsa, 69; Zac Potter, Cheney, 69; Cameron Bishop, Tulsa, 70; Andrew Dahl, Salinas, Calif., 72; Joe Ida, Kansas City, Mo., 72.
First alternate – Dillon Rust, Edmond, Okla., 73. Second alternate – Jett Johnson, Norman, Okla., 73.