U.S. Open sectional qualifying recaps
June 06, 2016
By Sean Martin, Mike McAllister, Kevin Prise and Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- June 06, 2016
- Eight of 10 sites completed their 36-hole qualifiers on Monday. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Fifty-five spots in the U.S. Open field were available Monday, with a wide spectrum of players competing across the country. Former major champions teed it up alongside high-schoolers in the 36-hole sectional qualifiers.
Here are the recaps from Monday's 10 sectionals (competition at the Powell, Ohio and Jacksonville, Florida sites extended into Tuesday).
POWELL, Ohio (Wedgewood Golf/Kinsale Golf)
Medalist: Carlos Ortiz
Other qualifiers: Bryson DeChambeau, Ethan Tracy, Brendan Steele, Spencer Levin, Wes Short, Kevin Streelamn, Jason Kokrak, Scottie Scheffler, Luke Donald, Jason Allred, Richard Schembechler, Patrick Rodgers
Recent form doesn't always dictate future success, and Carlos Ortiz proved that Monday, He opened with a 66 at Kinsale and matched the score in the afternoon at Wedgewood to finish at 10 under to claim medalist honors.
The two sub-70 rounds were a shot in the arm for Ortiz, who missed out on the weekend at the nearby Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide — his eighth missed cut in his last nine starts.
"I didn't play great at the beginning of the year and that hurt my confidence a little bit, but I'm getting it back," Ortiz said. "I needed to make things easier on myself, and I think I did that today."
Afternoon storms delayed play for nearly two hours and forced a number of players to think about their fate before play resumed at 7:40 p.m. local time.
One of those was Bryson DeChambeau, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, who gave up his automatic spot at Oakmont when he turned professional at the RBC Heritage.
After shooting a 70 at Kinsale, DeChambeau figured it would take a low score to have a chance. He opened with two birdies on the front nine — he started on the 10th hole at Wedgewood — and then buried a 30-footer on the 1st hole that began a torrid stretch. DeChambeau would birdie four of the next five holes to go from on the cusp of a playoff to shooting 63 and finishing in a tie for second-place with Ethan Tracy.
"Ball striking was definitely the key," DeChambeau said. "At the Memorial, it wasn't putting really well, and I knew out here I needed to hit it really it close to give myself some makable putts. I was lucky enough to hit it really close a bunch of times.
"I'm just excited to be going back. I missed the cut last year so I'm hoping to get a little revenge this time."
As is the case nearly every year at sectionals, there were a couple of Cinderella stories in the field. Wes Short Jr. became a U.S. Open rookie for the first time at 52. Short traveled from the PGA TOUR Champions event in Iowa to Ohio and arrived at his hotel around 2 a.m.
With little sleep, Short dug deep and shot 69-66 to earn one of 13 spots that were available. While he's played in the U.S. Senior Open Championship before, it will be his first time playing in the U.S. Open.
"At 52 years old, it's a hell of a one to have to be your first one," Short said. "I always wanted to play in one, and it just kind of sucks that it's at 52 years old, but I'm looking forward to it."
Several PGA TOUR pros also stamped their ticket for Oakmont, including Brendan Steele, Spencer Levin, Kevin Streelman and Jason Kokrak.
Luke Donald, Scottie Scheffler, Jason Allred, Richard Schembechler II and Patrick Rodgers earned their spots in a 6-for-5 playoff Tuesday morning. Daniel Summerhays is the first alternate.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Germantown CC/Ridgeway CC)
Co-Medalists: D.J. Trahan, Andres Gonzales
Other qualifiers: Tom Hoge, Derek Fathauer, Andrew Landry, Dicky Pride, J.J. Henry, David Toms, Sam Burns, Sunghoon Kang
D.J. Trahan used a second-round 62 at Ridgeway to share medalist honors with Andres Gonzales, who fired a 64 in his opening round at Germantown.
Trahan is a two-time TOUR winner whose most recent victory came at the 2008 CareerBuilder Challenge. He has one top-10 in eight starts this season. He has made three U.S. Open appearances, including a fourth-place finish in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Gonzales is making his second U.S. Open appearance after qualifying for the 2011 U.S. Open (MC). He is 180th in the FedExCup this season.
Sam Burns, who recently completed his freshman season at LSU, and Sunghoon Kang earned their U.S. Open starts by making birdies on the first hole of a 6-for-2 playoff.
Burns’ mentor, former PGA Championship winner David Toms, also qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday in Memphis. He finished fifth in the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont. This will be the 49-year-old’s 19th U.S. Open.
Dicky Pride, 46, qualified for his fourth U.S. Open and first since 2003. He played his first U.S. Open in 1992 at Pebble Beach while still an amateur, shooting 83-88. He qualified for that Open in Memphis, as well. The town also is site of his lone PGA TOUR victory, the 1994 FedEx St. Jude Classic.
ROSWELL, Ga. (Ansley Golf Club)
Medalist: Kent Bulle
Other qualifiers: Ryan Stachler, Frank Adams III
Kent Bulle, a member of the Web.com Tour, posted six birdies and an eagle in a brilliant second-round bogey-free 64 to take medalist honors on the Settindown Creek course.
Bulle finished his two rounds at 11 under, three strokes better than his closest pursuer, amateur Ryan Stachler, a member of the University of South Carolina golf team. Stachler shot a second-round 65.
Frank Adams III opened with a 66 in the morning, then backed it up with a 71 to grab the final spot.
Ollie Schneiderjans, who has three top-10 finishes in his last five Web.com Tour starts, finished in a tie for sixth, while his brother Luke, who will be playing golf at Georgia Tech next season, tied for 11th
ROCKVILLE, Md. (Woodmont Country Club)
Medalist: Billy Hurley III
Other qualifiers: Chase Parker, Dennis McCarthy
In 13 starts on the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour this season, Billy Hurley III has missed the cut eight times. But in his last start, the AT&T Byron Nelson three weeks ago, he shot three rounds in the 60s for the first time this season, finishing at a season-best T41.
Maybe he found something that carried over to Monday’s sectional. Or perhaps the Naval Academy grad was just glad to be back on familiar territory. Either way, he played lights out at Woodmont, earning medalist honors at 9 under, three strokes better than the rest of the field.
Hurley ate up the front nine at Woodmont, making nine of his 10 birdies on that side. He carded just one bogey on the round.
Chase Parker, Dennis McCarthy and Mike Van Sickle – the son of golf writer Gary Van Sickle – tied for second at 6 under. Each shot rounds of 71 in the morning and 67 in the afternoon.
Parker and McCarthy advance, with Van Sickle settling for first alternate.
SUMMIT, N.J. (Canoe Brook; North and South Courses)
Co-medalists: Jim Herman, Rob Oppenheim
Other qualifiers: Justin Hicks, Michael Miller, Andy Pope, Christopher Crawford
After winning the Shell Houston Open to punch his ticket to his first Masters in dramatic fashion, Jim Herman earned his way into his second major of 2016 at the sectional qualifying site in Summit, New Jersey.
With 98 players competing for six spots, Herman fired rounds of 67-70 to earn co-medalist honors at Canoe Brook Club at 7-under total -- and a spot in his fourth U.S. Open.
TOUR rookie Rob Oppenheim matched Herman’s 7-under total and will return to the U.S. Open after competing at Pinehurst in 2014.
Four players posted 6-under totals to secure the final spots at the Canoe Brook site. The contingent included TOUR member Justin Hicks (65-73), Web.com Tour member Michael Miller (68-70), former Web.com Tour member Andy Pope (72-66) and amateur Christopher Crawford (65-73).
Crawford holed a 40-foot birdie putt on his final hole to avoid a playoff.
DALY CITY, Calif. (Lake Merced/The Olympic Club)
Medalist: Miguel Luis Tabuena
Other qualifiers: Justin Suh, Gregor Main, Mark Anguiano, Tyler Raber, Brandon Harkins
Miguel Luis Tabuena of the Philippines, a member of the Asian Tour who won his country’s national championship last year, posted two eagles in his morning round at Lake Merced en route to medalist honors in Northern California.
Tabuena shot 64 at Lake Merced and 68 in his afternoon round at The Olympic Club to finish at 11 under, two strokes ahead of his nearest competitors.
There was a three-way tie for second – amateur Justin Suh, Gregor Main and Mark Anguiano each finished at 9 under. Suh, who just completed his freshman season at USC, is a four-time qualifier for the U.S. Junior Amateur.
Brandon Harkins won the three-man playoff for the final spot.
VANCOUVER, Wash. (Royal Oaks Country Club)
Medalist: Aaron Wise
Other qualifiers: Travis Howe, Matt Marshall
Aaron Wise, winner of last week’s NCAA Championship, will make quite the pro debut. He was medalist at Royal Oaks, earning a tee time at the U.S. Open.
Wise played two seasons at Oregon, capping off his college career by winning the NCAA individual title and helping the Ducks to the team title as well.
Wise finished two shots ahead of former Penn State golfer Travis Howe, who now plays on Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada. Former PGA TOUR Canada member Matt Marshall beat teenager Austin Connelly in a playoff for the final spot.
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (Springfield Country Club)
Medalist: Nick Hardy
Other qualifiers: Kyle Mueller, Patrick Wilkes-Krier, Charlie Danielson
Rising Illinois junior Nick Hardy played his way to Oakmont with a sparkling performance in the Springfield, Ohio sectional, firing a two-round total of 6 under (70-64) at par-70 Springfield Country Club to earn a spot in his first U.S. Open.
The Springfield site consisted of 59 players competing for four spots, and low scores were at a premium, with just five players posting under-par totals through 36 holes.
Two players earned their spots at Oakmont with 5-under totals: amateur Kyle Mueller (68-67) and Patrick Wilkes-Krier (66-69). Mueller is a rising junior at the University of Michigan, while Wilkes-Krier played professionally for eight years (primarily on the NGA Tour) before devoting his full-time attention to golf instruction in 2015.
It took a playoff to decide the fourth and final spot, as second-year TOUR player Tony Finau and recent Illinois graduate Charlie Danielson matched 1-under totals through 36 holes. Danielson advanced and will compete in his first U.S. Open, joining his former college teammate Hardy.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Timuquana Country Club)
Medalist: Aron Price
Other qualifiers: Tim Wilkinson, Sam Horsfield, Matthew Borchert
It took a day-and-a-half of competition due to Tropical Storm Colin, but Aron Price and Tim Wilkinson earned the site's first two spots at Oakmont with 9-under and 7-under totals respectively, while Sam Horsfield and Matthew Borchert punched their tickets to Pennsylvania with birdies on the first extra hole of a 5-for-2 playoff.
Price posted rounds of 69-66 at the traditional Donald Ross layout, giving the Web.com Tour member another U.S. Open opportunity after missing the cut at Pinehurst in 2014.
Wilkinson has played in 127 PGA TOUR events but never a major, and will look to build on a consistent 2015-16 TOUR season where he has made 11 cuts in 13 starts.
Horsfield, a rising sophomore at the University of Florida, drained an 8-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole to advance. It marks his second consecutive trip to the national championship, as he also qualified for last year's U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
The feel-good story of the site was perhaps Borchert, 39, a teaching professional at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in the Orlando area. Borchert played professionally for more than a decade, including a season on TOUR in 2009, but turned to teaching full-time in 2013.
He feels better suited to a career where playing is not his first priority, although he still manages to practice two or three times a week.
"I was a mental midget out there," Borchert said of his time as a touring professional. "Professional golf didn't fit me mentally. There are a lot of people out there that I probably have to apologize to when I see them."
Wearing a bucket hat to combat the summer sun, Borchert drained a 12-footer on the first playoff hole to advance.
There was no shortage of drama as the final groups completed their second round, with hopefuls anxiously waiting around the scoring area. As the afternoon progressed, it became clear that 6 under would be the number for a playoff -- it became a matter of how many players would partake.
The playoff consisted of Horsfield, Borchert, Zachary Edmondson, Joey Garber and Willie Mack III. Edmondson emerged as first alternate, while Garber took the second alternate spot.
HOUSTON, Texas (Lakeside Country Club)
Co-medalists: Kevin Tway, Derek Chang, Austin Jordan
Kevin Tway, whose father Bob won the PGA Championship 30 years ago, produced the low round of the day to claim co-medalist honors at Lakeside.
Tway shot a 6-under 66 – including an eagle at the par-5 18th hole – to finish at 7 under. He ranks 28th on the Web.com Tour money list this season, with four top-25 finishes. He won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2005 and is making his third start in the U.S. Open.
Derek Chang, who played the 2015 season on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, was the only player to card both rounds in the 60s.
Austin Jordan opened with a bogey-free 67, then bounced back from a double-bogey with three straight birdies in his afternoon round.