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Golf notebook — Austin’s Ray advances toward U.S. Open berth

Austin native Conrad Ray took a big step last week toward qualifying for another United States Open golf championship.

The current Stanford head golf coach and former Austin High multi-sport athlete (Ray played on Austin’s 1993 hockey team that made it to the state tournament) finished fourth in a U.S. Open local qualifier at the Half Moon Bay (Calif.) Golf Links on May 14. He shot 1-under-par 71.

Coincidentally, the Half Moon Bay qualifier was won by one of the players Ray coaches at Stanford — Joseph Bramlett, who blistered the course to the tune of 6-under-par 66.

Bramlett’s name may sound familiar to local golf fans. He played in the Scratch Players Championship last August at Somerby Golf Club in Byron.

Ray qualified for the U.S. Open for the first time in 2005, when it was played at Pinehurst in North Carolina. There he drew national media attention by playing a practice round with Tiger Woods, his former college teammate at Stanford.

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According to the United States Golf Association Web page, Ray will play in a sectional qualifier at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.

This year’s U.S. Open will be held at the Oakmont, Pa., Country Club June 11-17.

Showdown proceeds to benefit Boys & Girls Club

The Rochester Area Charities Showdown at Somerby Presented by Think announced Tuesday that all advance ticket sales from now until June 3 will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester.

The professional golf event, a stop on the Nationwide Tour, will be held June 11-17 at Somerby Golf Club in Byron.

"We are honored to be a part of this tremendous community event," Boys & Girls Club director Troy Pearson said in a release. "This partnership will provide our club with tremendous exposure and vital financial support allowing us to provide programs to empower all young people. ..."

Tickets can be purchased at all Think Rochester branches, Hy Vee Rochester locations and Somerby Golf Club. More information is available at www.showdownatsomerby.com or call 866-263-GOLF to order tickets.

Amateurs top pros

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The top amateur golfers in Minnesota proved to be just a bit better than the top pros in the state this year.

The Minnesota Golf Association team (amateurs) edged the Minnesota Section PGA team (pros), 21 1/2 - 18 1/2, in the 31st PGA/MGA Cup matches held at Keller Golf Club in St. Paul.

Matt Norgaard, the assistant pro at Somerby Golf Club in Byron, halved his singles match against Trent Peterson.

Norgaard teamed with Jeff Sorenson to win a four-ball match (worth two points) over Peterson and Mark Sperling.

The PGA holds a 22-7-2 edge in the series, but the MGA has won three of the past four.

Women’s U.S. Open tickets on sale soon

Tickets for the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open will go on sale on June 11. The championship will be played at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn., from June 23-29, 2008.

The USGA and Interlachen are also seeking more than 2,800 volunteers to work throughout the week of the championship.

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For more information on volunteering or ticket sales, see www.2008uswomensopen.com.

Chip shots ...

St. John’s won the NCAA Division III men’s national championship last week. The Johnnies won by 12 shots over the University of La Verne. Clinton Damman (Glencoe-Silver Lake) of the Johnnies won the individual national title. ... A funny note from a U.S. Open qualifier played at George Dunne National Golf Club in Oak Forest, Ill., on May 14: The winner of the local qualifier was a man named Constant DeMattia. His listed residence: A town named Golf, Ill.

Jason Feldman is a Post-Bulletin sports writer.

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