North’s Erica Herr qual­i­fies for U.S. Women’s Open

The Advance of Bucks County - - SPORTS - By L.A. Parker

For Buck­sLo­calS­ports brica Herr said she never saw it com­ing but then again nei­ther The Amaz­ing hre­skin, Cleo or Sylvia Browne could have ever imag­ined or pre­dicted the cur­rent cir­cum­stances for this Coun­cil oock North High School ju­nior star.

Herr, a two-time de­fend­ing PIAA Class AAA girls golf cham­pion from New Hope, heads off to the U.S. Women’s Open af­ter a medal­ist per­for­mance in a tworound sec­tional qual­i­fier at But­ler EPa.) Coun­try Club, a one-day af­fair that started with snowflakes but came to its con­clu­sion with a sto­ry­book end­ing

The day looked like a snow globe, all shook up but be­ing set­tled in a mat­ter of time.

Herr posted T4-T8 for 152 E10-over-par) then shrieked af­ter a tour­na­ment of­fi­cial in­formed her that she had gained en­try into the June 24-30 U.S. Women’s Open at Se­bonack Golf Club in Southamp­ton, N.Y.

“I’m rid­ing home with my dad think­ing, “Wow, I just did that.” I just never saw this com­ing,” Herr said.

Oh, maybe a lit­tle Steve Urke­l­ish but un­der­stand­able.

What had sup­posed to be a trip to find a feel for fu­ture golf chal­lenges de­liv­ered the un­ex­pected.

“I al­ways had a dream to at­tend Wake For­est and to play in the U.S. Women’s Open. But I never thought that I would be 1T and go­ing to the U.S. Open,” Herr re­vealed.

Herr has cap­tured two birdies, so to speak, in sev­eral months-time af­ter she signed a let­ter of in­tent to ma­tric­u­late and play golf as a De­mon Dea­con.

This story does not con- nect to serendip­ity. Herr finds her­self in the thick of U.S. Women’s Open golf his­tory af­ter years of prac­tice, at­tempts, fail­ures, and vic­to­ries col­lected in hot sum­mer days or win­try con­di­tions of U.S. Open qual­i­fy­ing.

Herr’s story is merely an ex­ag­ger­a­tion of what hap­pens when dreams con­nect with hard work.

One day, you are trav­el­ing the Penn­syl­va­nia Turn­pike to But­ler on a whimsical ex­cur­sion then five weeks later, your fam­ily and golf clubs are headed east on the Belt Park­way.

The Jeri­cho National Golf Club star will ar­rive at Se­bonack GC hold­ing on for dear life of a dream that has dropped her down some rab­bit hole into a fan­tasy land where she will stand aside iPGA stars Julie Inkster, Paula Creamer, In­bee Park, har­rie Webb, Stacy iewis, Michelle Wie and oth­ers.

No mat­ter how Herr dreamt this, it’s larger than any of her other golf ex­pe­ri­ences as a high school stu­dent-ath­lete who reg­u­larly com­petes in Amer­i­can Ju­nior Golf As­so­ci­a­tion tour events, Golf As­so­ci­a­tion of Philadel­phia con­tests, as well as state and national com­pe­ti­tions.

Herr ar­rives in a per­fect place for anx­i­ety-filled com­pe­ti­tion as the world’s best match tal­ents in the old­est women’s ma­jor and the lone event to be rec­og­nized as a ma­jor by the iPGA since its found­ing in 1950.

De­spite re­cent suc­cesses by for­eign play­ers, in­clud­ing cur­rent cham­pion Na Yeon Choi, of South horea, U.S. golfers own 49 U.S. Open cham­pi­onships.

South horea claimed six,

6we­den four and Aus­tralia just three. 6outh .orea owns four of the last five Open cham­pi­onships while Amer­i­can Creamer won her only ma­jor in 2010 at Oak­mont CC.

Eric Herr broad­cast his dauJhter’s suc­cess with an email “Erica Jot into U.6. Open. Ya­hoo!!!!.”

6oon af­ter, Herr had to start prepa­ra­tions for an un­ex­pected fam­ily va­ca­tion to LonJ ,sland.

“Yes, my dad started mak­inJ plans. , know that he made some ini­tial calls to ho­tels but many were al­ready booked,” Erica Herr said.

The Jolf puz­zle con­tin­ued to fall into place as a fam­ily friend of­fered the Herr fam­ily their res­i­dence.

“They’re JoinJ to be away for that week so we will be stay­inJ at a place that’s about 25 min­utes from 6ebonack,” Eric Herr said.

Herr ad­mit­ted that she re­mained in a daze about a Jolf wind­fall that prom­ises to pro­duce life­time mem­o­ries as well as of­fer op­por­tu­nity for Jolf im­prove­ment.

Just when one miJht think that Erica’s life could not Jet even bet­ter, she played her first prac­tice round at 6eabonack GC and recorded a hole-in-one.

Dad never saw that com­inJ ei­ther.

“We’re stand­inJ on the No. 12 tee and Erica hits this beau­ti­ful seven iron then says “that looks Jood,” Eric Herr re­called. “We watched the ball roll straiJht into the cup. ,t was Jreat but , wish she could have saved that for the Open.”

Dad should be Jrate­ful he didn’t have any money on the line reJardinJ his dauJhter’s ace. 6he’s al­ready in his pocket for more than chump chanJe.

“, had this waJer with Erica that she could Jo on a shop­pinJ spree if she Tual­i­fied for the U.6. Open. Let’s just say it was more than the $17 she spent at TarJet the other day,” Herr joked.

Eric Herr ad­mit­ted beinJ blind­sided but the proud fa­ther is en­joy­inJ the ride of a life­time.

“,t’s just an ex­cit­inJ time for Erica and all of us. ,t’s Jreat,” Herr said.

— L.A. Parker is a Tren­to­nian colum­nist and golf writer. Reach him at la­[email protected]­to­nian.com.

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