John Lynch was a relative late arrival to the world of U.S. Open qualifying. Before Thursday, he had come close but never once advanced out of the local stage.
Lynch, 37, a teaching professional at the Peninsula Club in southern Delaware, possessed no such worries on a beautiful day for golf at Applebrook Golf Club in Malvern, firing a 1-under-par 70 to win medalist honors.
Eight players out of the field of 124 advanced to next month's sectional qualifying, where they will seek out a place in the field for the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club.
Lynch, who lives in Selbyville, Del., ran the gamut of scores - an eagle, two birdies, a bogey and a double bogey - and ended up as the only player to finish below par.
"I lived in Hawaii for 15 years and I started doing [Open qualifying] probably in 2003 or something like that," Lynch said. "I've been an alternate. I've been in playoffs, all that kind of stuff, and never made it through" to sectional qualifying."
Michael Tobiason Jr., teaching pro at Applecross Country Club in Downingtown, led a group of three players at 71 that included professionals David Sanders of Mount Laurel and Brandon Knaub of York.
Tobiason, 29, of Wilmington, who competed in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., fashioned a solid round of two birdies and two bogeys. He said he had been playing well since finishing sixth in money winnings on the NGA Tour's winter circuit in Florida.
"I hit the ball really, really well," he said. "I wish I made a couple of more putts. I had two three-putts but they were long ones. But the game's there."
Knaub, who played on mini-tours before taking a job last month as a teaching pro at Hillendale Country Club in Phoenix, Md., shot the best round of the morning draw and said he enjoyed returning to Applebrook, where he competed in the 2011 Pennsylvania Open.
The survivors of the eight-man playoff, which went four holes and finished in almost total darkness, were Joey Bonargo (birdie on the first extra hole), Zak Drescher (birdie on the third), Chad Wilfong (par on the third) and Cory Siegfried (par on the third).
John Lynch, Selbyville, Del.. . . 34-36-70
Brandon Knaub, York. . . 36-35-71
David Sanders, Mount Laurel, N.J.. . . 34-37-71
Michael Tobiason Jr., Wilmington. . . 37-34-71
x-Joey Bonargo, Mechanicsville, Pa.. . . 36-36-72
x-Zak Drescher, Landisville, Pa.. . . 35-37-72
x-Chad Wilfong, Charlotte, N.C.. . . 35-37-72
x-a-Cory Siegfried, Wayne. . . 37-35-72
Rich Steinmetz, Gilbertsville, Pa.. . . 35-37-72
a-Nelson Hargrove, Haverford. . . 38-34-72
a-Amateur x-Advanced in playoff