FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Outside of Lake Nona, Isleworth and Whisper Rock, there may not be a course with as many players in the U.S. Open field as Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, Calif.
Virginia gets publicity because it’s the home of PGA Tour members John Merrick, John Mallinger and Peter Tomasulo, all of whom are playing this week. John Cook, Paul Goydos and Craig Barlow also play at the course.
But there’s an unlikely fourth Virginia member in the field this week – teaching pro Michael Miles.
Miles made birdie on the first playoff hole of a sectional qualifier at Saticoy Country Club in Somis, Calif., to earn a spot in his second U.S. Open (he also played in 1987). Charlene Alfonso, another teaching pro at Virginia, will be on his bag.
“They were so happy for him,” Mulligan said. “I think everyone has a little bit of pride, that this is the teaching pro from our club, and he’s playing in our national open.”
Miles, who like Mallinger attended Long Beach State, was a PGA Tour member in ‘86 and ‘89. He won last year’s Southern California PGA Section championship, which earned him a spot in the ‘09 Bob Hope.
Virginia, at 6,582 yards long, may be almost 1,000 yards shorter than Bethpage, but both courses are A.W. Tillinghast designs, a fact that may help the Virginia foursome in this week’s field.