Make no mistake about it. Every team that competes in the Sullivan wants to qualify for the championship flight.
On Thursday, two local teams all but wrapped up spots in the 16-team, match-play championship flight, during the opening day of qualifying for the 66th edition of the prestigious W.B. Sullivan Better-Ball-of-Partners, being contested on Lebanon Country Club’s par-72 test. Rick Troutman and Greg Ulp tore up LCC for a seven-under par score of 65, while Jesse Brown and Cody Kersey counted 67 strokes.
A total of 43 teams attempted qualifying on Thursday, while the remainder of the 118-team field will tee it up on Friday. The low 15 qualifying scores will join defending champions Dan Brown and Brian Auman in the championship-flight match play, beginning Saturday.
This year’s cut to make championship flight is projected to fall in the 69-70 range.
Certainly no strangers to the championship flight, Troutman and Ulp made the turn at three-under par, then carded a four-under par score of 32 on LCC’s tougher nine. Brown and Kersey, who were tied after the first round of this year’s Lebanon County Amateur, also were three-under on the front, but just two-under on the back.
Also carding a 67 on Thursday was the team of Andrew Schell and Tony Romanoski, while Alan Over-Phil Over, Ben Smith-Casey Osborne and John Willadsen-Andrew Willadsen all tallied 68s. Meanwhile, the local duo of Jimmy Gardner and Andy Gibbons managed a one-under par 71.
The 66th edition of the Sullivan is the first one being directed by Lebanon Country Club’s new head professional, Sean Smyth.