Ikeda among four U.S. Open qualifiers in Japan


Olympic hopeful Yuta Ikeda earned medalist honors at a U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Japan that saw four players punch their tickets to Oakmont Country Club.

Ikeda, who is currently in line to represent Japan in Rio alongside Hideki Matsuyama, carded rounds of 64-68 at Higashi-Hirono Golf Club to finish three shots clear of the field. Ranked No. 83 in the world, Ikeda finished T-58 in 2010 in his lone prior U.S. Open appearance.

The qualifier saw 40 men competing for four spots, and the other three qualifiers were all from Japan: Toru Taniguchi, Yusaku Miyazato and Hideto Tanihara.

Thailand's Thitiphun Chuayprakong finished fifth, two shots behind Tanihara after rounds of 66-72, and is first alternate from the section.

This was the first of 12 sectional qualifiers hosted by the USGA, each 36 holes in length. The next one will be held May 30 in England, while the remaining 10 qualifiers will be held across the U.S. simultaneously on June 6.

The qualifiers will help determine approximately half of the 156-man field at Oakmont. The last sectional qualifier to win the U.S. Open was Lucas Glover in 2009, while Michael Campbell remains the only winner to advance out of an international sectional qualifier, having done so in 2005.

The U.S. Open will be held June 16-19 in Pittsburgh, Pa.