Hillman fails to qualify

Greenfield native Josh Hillman finished tied for 57th in the U.S. Open Sectional in Purchase, N.Y., Monday. Hillman was among 80 players competing for a spot in next week’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.

“Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said on the drive back to Williamstown, where he’s the club pro at the Taconic Golf Club.

“I just ran out of gas out there.”

Hillman was at Monday’s 36-hole sectional after shooting a 2-under-par 70 in the local qualifier at the Schuyler Meadows Club in Loudonville, N.Y., last month. On Monday, he followed up a 4-over 74 on the first 18 at Old Oaks Country Club with a 9-over 80 on the final 18 at the Century Country Club. His 36-hole total of 154 included five birdies, 11 bogeys and three double bogeys.

“My short game was sharp all day, so was my bunker play and putting, but I hit a few errant tee shots. Oaks is very narrow with small greens, and Century, they couldn’t have possibly played the course any longer.”

He finished 16 strokes behind co-leaders Fran Quinn Jr. of Holden and Rob Oppenheim of Orlando. Both finished at 3-under 138. The 49-year-old Quinn won the 1986 Mass. Amateur and is a two-time Mass. Open champion. In 1994, he qualified for the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania, where he finished 43rd.

James Renner of Orlando and Matthew Dobyns of Lake Success, N.Y., also qualified for the Open at 2-under and even par, respectively.

“I was paired with Corey Conners from Ontario. He just graduated from Penn State and is a member of the Canadian National Team.”

Conners finished tied for 13th. Lee Janzen, who won the U.S. Open in both 1993 and 1998, finished tied for seventh at 2-over.

Now, said Hillman, “It’s back to work, teaching lessons and running tourneys for the club. I’ve got a Vermont Open that fits into my schedule, but outside of that, I’m really working. This was a huge accomplishment for me. It was a great experience. I’m thrilled.”

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