UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Don’t be surprised if a few amateurs make their way onto the leaderboard here at the U.S. Open.
Call it strength in numbers.
The 16 amateurs in the field are the most since there were 18 in 1981.
At least one amateur has made the cut each of the past seven years, but never more than four.
The best Open finish by an amateur in the past 35 years is Spencer Levin’s 13th-place showing in 2004.
Three amateurs were automatically exempt into this year’s field: Ollie Schniederjans, who earned the McCormack Medal as the top-ranked amateur in the country; Gunn Yang, who won the U.S. Amateur; and Bradley Neil, the British Amateur champion.
Thirteen others survived sectional qualifying, a group that includes NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau, 2012 U.S. Open participant Beau Hossler and 15-year-old Cole Hammer.
The only amateur who has played Chambers Bay in competition is Denny McCarthy, who lost in the Round of 64 in the 2010 U.S. Amateur.