Friday, June 3

2016 U.S. Open Qualifying: Player Snapshots

THIS COMING MONDAY (JUNE 6) is the big day for those with hopes of qualifying for the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in two weeks. Hundreds of players will tee off in 36-hole qualifiers at 10 sites around the United States.

Following is a partial list of players in the sectional qualifier in Powell, Ohio, where a lot of the tour pros go in search of a spot in the U.S. Open field. It's always amazing to me to see the pedigree -- names that have been on top and played in so many U.S. Opens and major championships. But that's golf, right?

(Player snapshots provided by the USGA.)
  • Stuart Appleby, 45, of Australia, has played in 14 U.S. Opens, including a tie for 10th in 1998 at The Olympic Club. Appleby has won nine times on the PGA Tour and owns three PGA Tour of Australasia victories.
  • Aaron Baddeley, 35, of Australia, was the 54-hole leader (2-over 212) in the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. He finished in a tie for 13th. Baddeley, who has played in nine U.S. Opens, has won three PGA Tour and four PGA Tour of Australasia events. He was the runner-up to James Oh in the 1998 U.S. Junior Amateur.
  • Ricky Barnes, 35, of Stockton, Calif., won the 2002 U.S. Amateur Championship, defeating Hunter Mahan in the final. He tied for second in the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course. He also qualified for the 2000 U.S. Open as a 19-year-old amateur.
  • Alex Cejka, 45, of Germany, has played in seven U.S. Opens. He advanced through sectional qualifying to Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014. Cejka’s best finish is a tie for eighth in 2010. At age 9, he and his father escaped from Czechoslovakia before settling in Frankfurt, Germany.
  • K.J. Choi, 46, of the Republic of Korea, has competed in 13 U.S. Opens. His best finish is a tie for 15th in 2005 at Pinehurst No. 2 and in 2012 at The Olympic Club. Choi has eight PGA Tour wins, including The Players Championship in 2011.
  • Stewart Cink, 43, of Duluth, Ga., has competed in 19 U.S. Opens and has seven top-25 finishes. He was third in 2001 at Southern Hills Country Club. Cink won the 2009 British Open in a four-hole aggregate playoff with Tom Watson. He recently took time off from the PGA Tour to care for his wife, Lisa, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Cink fired rounds of 62 and 61 to earn medalist honors at the Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier in 2003.
  • Erik Compton, 36, of Coral Gables, Fla., was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy at age 9 and has since had two successful heart transplants. Compton, a member of the 2001 USA Walker Cup Team, has played in three U.S. Opens. He tied for second at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014.
  • Ben Curtis, 39, of Stow, Ohio, has played in seven U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for 14th in 2010 at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Curtis captured the 2003 Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, in his first start. He has four PGA Tour victories.
  • Bryson DeChambeau, 22, of Clovis, Calif., in 2015 became the fifth player to win the U.S. Amateur and NCAA Division I individual championship in the same year, joining Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore. DeChambeau, who has played in 10 USGA championships, including last year’s U.S. Open, was a member of the 2015 USA Walker Cup Team and the winning 2014 USA entry in the World Amateur Team Championship. He tied for 21st in the 2016 Masters as an amateur, then tied for fourth at the RBC Heritage in his first PGA Tour event as a professional the following week.
  • Luke Donald, 38, of England, qualified for the U.S. Open through sectional play last year and tied for 58th at Chambers Bay. Donald has competed in 12 U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for eighth in 2013. Donald has won five times on the PGA Tour and seven times on the PGA European Tour, including back-to-back BMW PGA Championship wins in 2011 and 2012.
  • Jason Gore, 42, of Stevenson Ranch, Calif., has competed in four U.S. Opens and played in the final group with Retief Goosen at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005. Gore, who was a member of the victorious 1997 USA Walker Cup Team, has one PGA Tour and seven Web.com Tour victories.
  • Dudley Hart, 47, of Naples, Fla., advanced through local qualifying to the Powell, Ohio sectional. Hart, who had spinal fusion surgery seven years ago, has played in eight U.S. Opens, including a tie for 12th in 2002. He has won twice on the PGA Tour.
  • Russell Henley, 27, of Charleston, S.C., has played in five U.S. Opens and finished in a tie for 16th in 2010, tying for low amateur with Scott Langley at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Henley, who was a member of the 2011 USA Walker Cup Team, has two PGA Tour and three Web.com Tour victories. the 2013 Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation’s top collegiate player. He has two top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour this season.
  • Davis Love III, 52, of Sea Island, Ga., has played in 23 U.S. Opens and owns five top-10 finishes, including a tie for second in 1996. Love has 21 PGA Tour wins, including the 1997 PGA Championship and last year’s Wyndham Championship. He served as United States captain for the 2012 Ryder Cup and will captain the 2016 U.S. squad.
  • Jamie Lovemark, 28, of San Diego, Calif., advanced through the Purchase, N.Y., sectional qualifier to his first U.S. Open last year. He tied for 18th at Chambers Bay. In 2016, Lovemark has five top-10 finishes in 18 PGA Tour events played, including losing to Brian Stuard on the second playoff hole at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. In 2007, Lovemark won the NCAA individual title and was a member of the USA Walker Cup Team.
  • Hunter Mahan, 34, of Dallas, Texas, has competed in 10 U.S. Opens and tied for fourth in 2013. He has recorded six PGA Tour victories. Mahan won the 1999 U.S. Junior Amateur by defeating Camilo Villegas, 4 and 2, and was the runner-up to Ricky Barnes in the 2002 U.S. Amateur.
  • Billy Mayfair, 49, of Scottsdale, Ariz., has played in 14 U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for fifth in 2002 at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course. Mayfair won the 1987 U.S. Amateur and 1986 U.S. Amateur Public Links, becoming the first player to win both titles.
  • George McNeill, 40, of Fort Myers, Fla., has advanced through both local and sectional qualifying to the U.S. Open three times (2002, 2006, 2007). McNeill was one of two local-sectional qualifiers to make the cut at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club in 2007, when he finished 63rd. McNeill, who has competed in five U.S. Opens, has won twice on the PGA Tour.
  • John Senden, 45, of Australia, has played in seven U.S. Opens, including a tie for 10th at The Olympic Club in 2012. Senden’s victory in the 2014 Valspar Championship is one of two PGA Tour wins. He turned professional in 1992 and was a regular on the PGA Tour of Australasia.
  • Camilo Villegas, 34, advanced through the Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier to the 2015 U.S. Open, where he placed 74th. Villegas has played in eight U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for ninth in 2008. Villegas has won four times on the PGA Tour, including the 2008 Tour Championship. He was the runner-up to Hunter Mahan in the 1999 U.S. Junior Amateur.

2 comments:

Brian Kuehn said...

As much as I like the pedigree of the pros looking for a ticket to Oakmont, you have to love the "who?" guys that make it through local and sectional qualifying. We all have to pull for these unknowns to make the cut and have the best week of their golf lives.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Sure, I love the unheralded and unknown players, too. So many storylines.