Notes OHair Changes Qualifying Sites


DUBLIN, Ohio -- Sean O'Hair's game is in good shape going into Monday's 36-hole sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. He hasn't missed a cut since Phoenix, finished one shot behind two weeks ago in Dallas and heads into the weekend at the Memorial six shots out of the lead.
But qualifying might be tougher than he expected.
O'Hair signed up for the sectional at Woodmont in Rockville, Md., where a 156-man field consisting primarily of PGA Tour players will battle for 22 spots. He recently found out that he has been bumped to another site.
``They told me my entry came in too late and there's a pecking order,'' O'Hair said Friday.
The USGA, concerned about crowded fields that made it difficult to finish 36 holes in one day, created overflow sites this year in Columbus (after the Memorial) and Rockville (before the Booz Allen Classic).
``It comes down to numbers,'' USGA spokesman Marty Parkes said. ``He's getting a chance to compete like everyone else. But even at sectionals, we've got hundreds and hundreds of players to accommodate.''
Parkes pointed out that the entry form contains a clause that informs players they are not guaranteed the sectional site for which they sign up.
O'Hair got bumped from Woodmont to Chevy Chase, where 16 players will vie for a single spot. Tommy Tolles and Paul Claxton are the only other players with PGA Tour experience at Chevy Chase. The competition won't be as severe, but there is no margin for error; only the lowest score advances to Pinehurst No. 2.
``I'd rather play the tour stop,'' O'Hair said. ``To win an event, you've got to play really well. I don't care if there's 10 players or 16 players. At the tour stop, you've got to play good, but you don't have to play great to get in. With one spot, you've got to play flawless.''
O'Hair already did that once. He was the medalist at his local qualifier.
No one was more careful marking his ball on the green Friday than Scott Verplank.
Verplank incurred a bizarre one-stroke penalty in the first round when he went to replace his ball on the par-3 eighth. Just inches from the turf, the ball slipped out of his hand and landed on the edge of his coin, causing it to flip.
``It was heads and it came up tails,'' Verplank said. ``So, obviously it moved.''
He figured he would move the coin back, but then paused. He had never seen that happen, so he summoned a rules official and got the bad news.
Verplank isn't a big fan of the rule.
``Being penalized for being a clumsy human is not a good part of the rules,'' he said.
The penalty stroke gave Verplank a 75 on Thursday, although he rebounded nicely with a 66 in the second round. That included a 5-wood into 9 inches on the par-5 fifth for eagle.
Did he mark that ball?
``No, I just tapped that one in,'' he said.
Tiger Woods said his father, Earl, was finished with radiation treatments and is free of cancer, although he won't be able to travel to Pinehurst for the U.S. Open.
Earl Woods went to the Masters but never made it to the course. Woods broke down during the green jacket presentation as he paid tribute to his father.
``He's not traveling very much any more,'' Woods said. ``He's going to take it easy. Augusta kind of took its toll on him a little bit.''
Woods went to California last month to see his parents, and flew them both to his charity concert in Las Vegas.
While his father is free of cancer, Woods said the recovery is not as fast as it was the first time around because Earl Woods is getting older -- and sticks to the same habits.
``He's 1-over 73,'' Woods said. ``And on top of that ... he doesn't exactly take care of himself. He's still puffing away, and that's just the way it is. He's been real stubborn about everything. It's gotten him here this far, so we'll just kind of leave him be.''
Joe Ogilvie grew up about 45 minutes away in Lancaster, Ohio, but even he knows he's not the most famous athlete from his town -- at least not in these parts.
Also from Lancaster is Rex Kern, the quarterback who led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the national title in 1968.
``Everybody knows Rex Kern,'' Ogilvie said. ``Being second to Rex Kern isn't all that bad.''
Seventy players were at 1 over par until former Memorial champion Jim Furyk bogeyed the par-3 16th, allowing nine other players to make the cut at 2-over 146. That included Charles Howell III, who shot 69. ... Bill Haas had a 76 to make the cut on the number. The son of Jay Haas is in the field as the Jack Nicklaus Award winner, given to the top college player last year. It does not count against his seven PGA Tour exemptions. ... Former British Open champion Ben Curtis shot a 42 on the back nine for a 77, finishing last among 105 players. In the first round, Curtis shot a 43 on the back nine.
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