PORT ANGELES — The 2020 Merchants League at Peninsula Golf Club begins this week and will look a little different this season. All players and all teams now have the option to play their weekly round any time between Monday and Sunday.
Course operators believe this will eliminate players from all coming to play on the same day and also abides by the social distancing measures set in place.
Players also can now play in foursomes, a relaxing of the governor’s order regarding golf courses.
Players can call the Peninsula pro shop at 360-457-6501 for tee times and let staff know the round will be played as part of Merchant League play.
The league’s first week runs through Sunday, with play expected to continue through mid-September.
Cedars ladies play
SEQUIM — The Cedars at Dungeness 18-hole women’s golf group has resumed play while following physical distancing guidelines out on the course.
Club member Bonney Benson said the restrictions have “not deterred them one bit” from returning to their weekly Tuesday morning golf games.
“To show their appreciation to the ladies for supporting the course year after year Mr. Jerry Allen (CEO of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s 7 Cedars Casino) and course management offered to pay the competition fees for all those who participated in May 12’s play,” Benson said.
A total of 18 players dodged rain drops to play a game of Five and Four.
Linda Case topped Marine Hirschfeld to win the First Division, Kathy Langston edged Barb Burrows for first in the Second Division and Ann Elwell came out ahead of Cathy Grant in the Third Division.
Guests are welcome to participate. Club members ask that players should call the course at 360-683-6344, ext. 1 and prepay by 8 a.m. Tuesday mornings.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which already has postponed the U.S. Open at Winged Foot from June to September, has forced the USGA to do away with qualifying for the first time since 1924.
Open qualifying is the hallmark of golf’s second-oldest championship. The USGA often points out that typically half of the 156-man field has to go through either 36-hole qualifying or 18-hole and 36-hole qualifying.
The USGA did not announce how other players would become exempt.
Among those who have yet to qualify is Phil Mickelson, a runner-up six times in the only major he hasn’t won.
Mickelson said in February he would not ask the USGA for an exemption, and that if he didn’t qualify or become exempt, he wouldn’t play. Winged Foot is where Mickelson made double bogey on the final hole in 2006 to lose by one.
The field presumably will be smaller because of the later date, though the USGA did not mention the field size in its April 6 announcement that the U.S. Open was moving to Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot, in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
The USGA also said there would not be qualifying for three other championships it will hold this year — the U.S. Women’s Open (moved to December in Houston) and the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur, both still scheduled for August.
Peninsula Daily News and The Associated Press