E.A. Sports Today

Open qualifiers

Nomadic Mazziotta, a Web.com Tour pro, tops U.S. Open local qualifying at Silver Lakes; Wigington shoots 72

By East Alabama Sports Today

SILVER LAKES – Daniel Mazziotta, the Fort Myers pro who “camps” out of his 2002 Toyota Avalon as he makes his way around the Web.com Tour, shot 7-under-par 65 Thursday for the low round in U.S. Open local qualifying at Silver Lakes.

Mazziotta, who played collegiately at Florida Gulf Coast, earned one of four spots in the opening stage of the most democratic golf tournament in the world. The other qualifiers were Conner Godsey of Muscle Shoals (67), Matthew Fast of Hattiesburg (68) and Raoul Menard of Canada (69).

They advance to sectional qualifying that will be played as 12 sites throughout the United States (10), England (1) and Japan (1).

Anniston’s Gary Wigington was the low local player and tied for low amateur. He shot even-par 72, making birdies on the two Backbreaker par-5s coming in, and finished one shot out of a three-way playoff for the two alternates spots. The alternate spots went to Kevin Lucas of Folsom, Calif., and Auburn’s Jared Bettcher.

“I hit it really good; it could’ve been a whole lot better than that,” Wigington said. “It was a real good experience, knowing I can still hang in there with them somewhat and play good. You want to play good and give yourself a chance to go to a regional.

“I thought if I played really good and made some putts and didn’t have any dumb mistakes I thought I had a chance and would have. It was kind of disappointing to shoot that number as good as I hit the shots.”

Mazziotta, who gave up the lease on his apartment right before the start of the Web.com Tour season, made eight birdies and a bogey. He had a string of five in a row after making his lone bogey on the par-3 Backbreaker fifth.

Godsey, another Web.com Tour player who now resides in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., posted the early score to beat. He birded 2 and 3 on the Backbreaker nine to jump-start his round, bogeyed 4 and then played his final 13 holes in 4-under. He played in a threesome that included Anniston’s Layton Bussey (77).

“It was pretty good,” said Godsey, who shot 63-65 in his middle two rounds grab the 54-hole lead of the Web.com Mexico Championship in March. “I came into it indifferent with whatever happened. It’d be fine if I did (advance) and fine if I didn’t; I was just trying to play golf. I was a little iffy off the tee, but hit my irons really well and putted well.”

Other players with local connections in the field included Oxford’s Lance Evans (76), Southside’s Bo Hayes (76), Albertville’s Ty Cole (78), Gadsden’s John Hilliard Catanzaro (79), Gadsden’s Chris Cox (81) and Tallapoosa’s Dakota Yawn (83).

This story will be updated at the East Alabama Sports Today website.

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