Four Cavaliers Locally Qualify for U.S. Open
May 25, 2004
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Golfers Kevin O’Connell (Potomac, Md.) and Brad Tilley (Chappaqua, N.Y.), along with former Cavalier players James Driscoll (1997-2000) and Fred Widicus (1988-91), have qualified locally for the 2004 U.S. Open, to be held on June 17-20 at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southamption, N.Y.
All four will now move on to one of 13 nationwide regional qualifying sites on June 7-8 in order to advance to the U.S. Open. Tilley will compete in Summitt, N.J., while O’Connell and Widicus will play in Rockville, Md. Driscoll will compete in North Barrington, Ill.
O’Connell and Tilley will play as amateurs, while Driscoll and Widicus are professionals. Following local and sectional qualifying rounds, the field for the U.S. Open will be 156 golfers.
O’Connell, who will enter his senior season next fall, shot a four-under 68 at Monday’s local qualifying round in Urbana, Md. He paced Virginia in three matches last season, including the 2004 ACC Championship. The team captain’s best finish was a tie for fourth at the Turtle Bay Intercollegiate, where he fired a two-under 70 in the opening round. He also shot a 70 at the General Jim Hackler Invitational. O’Connell’s career low round was a 67 at the Tennessee Tournament of Champions, where he tied for second, in October 2001.
Tilley, who will be a junior, was the top finisher at Monday’s local qualifying round in East Norwalk, Conn., firing a five-under 67. He was Virginia’s top golfer last season with a 74.94 stroke average. He paced UVa in four matches. His best finish was a tie for eighth at the Andrea Brotto Cavalier Classic, where he fired a two-under 70 in the opening round. Tilley’s career low round was a 67 at the Rice Intercollegiate last fall, where he finished fourth.
Driscoll, a three-time All-American at UVa, shot a 68 in his qualifier in Baltimore. He turned professional in September 2001. Last fall, he became the fourth player in Virginia golf history (following Tim Dunlavey, Lewis Chitengwa, and Cameron Yancey) to make it all the way to the finals of the PGA Tour qualifying school. Finishing in the top half of the field, Driscoll earned status on the Nationwide Tour for 2004. After just eight events, Driscoll stands 13th on the money list for the Nationwide Tour, earning $ 74,457.
Widicus, a former team captain and an All-ACC honoree, fired a 68 in his qualifier in Urbana, Md. He holds Virginia’s school record for the lowest round in the ACC Championships with a 64 from 1990. He paced UVa at the conference match, finishing fourth. Widicus enjoyed his best year as a professional in 1998 when he competed successfully on the Tear Drop and Hooter’s Tours and qualified for several Nike events, as well as the PGA Tour’s Kemper Open.