San Ramon Valley High golfer Chris Parkinson was unfazed competing against his elders.

Parkinson recently advanced out of a U.S. Open local qualifier at Almaden Country Club in San Jose, thanks to some magic around the greens.

He will next compete in a U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier in Newport Beach on June 3, with a chance to advance to the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., June 13-16.

Not bad for a 17-year-old high school junior -- even an accomplished American Junior Golf Association player such as Parkinson.

The Almaden qualifier featured a tough, 90-player field composed of professionals, elite juniors and high-level collegians from Cal, Stanford, UC Davis, Saint Mary's College and San Jose State, among others.

Parkinson shot an even-par 72, overcoming nerves to make a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to tie for fourth and get in a six-man playoff. He then made a 45-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to gain one of the final two spots. A gallery of about 40 people roared its approval when the lengthy putt dropped.

"It was pretty exciting,' Parkinson said. "Everyone shook my hand because they knew how clutch it was. I was by far the youngest player there in the playoff, so to come out and make a putt like that was huge."

It took a great recovery shot on No. 18 just to get to that point. Parkinson found the trees to the right off the tee. So he pulled out his 8-iron and went for it.


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"I was totally blocked, but I figured I might as well try to pull off a great shot," he said. "I took a couple deep breaths to relax myself, and then I stuck it to about five feet."

Chris' dad, Jim, was impressed by his play, especially around the greens.

"I've never seen him have a better short game in my life," Jim Parkinson said. "He chipped, and he couldn't miss a putt. It was just really good."

Chris' high school season ended when he shot a 79 last week at Rooster Run Golf Course in Petaluma at the North Coast Section Tournament of Champions. His teammate and co-captain, Connor Blick, shot a 72, but the Wolves did not advance to the NorCal tourney.

Also an excellent baseball player, Parkinson is ranked 30th in the state for his 2014 graduation year and has been exchanging emails with about a dozen college golf coaches.

Coaches from Pepperdine, UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara are among those scheduled to watch him play in the sectional qualifier.

Overall, it's been a memorable spring for Wolves golfers, past and present.

Parkinson's former teammate Cody Blick, Connor's brother, did not advance out of the Almaden qualifier, but enjoyed an outstanding season at San Jose State. He was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and WAC Player of Year.

Cody Blick placed 50th at NCAA Regional Golf Championship in Tempe, Ariz., with a three-round score of 9-over 219.

Parkinson has enough game to eventually join Cody at the Division I level. The veteran players at the qualifier will attest to that.

Contact Matt Schwab at mschwab@bayareanewsgroup.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/schwab_matt.

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