More than 2,700 players enter qualifying for U.S. Senior Open

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The USGA announced Thursday that 2,746 players entered to play the U.S. Senior Open, held July 11-14, at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club. Twelve past champions, including last year's champ Roger Chapman, are among 78 men already exempt.

The USGA received entries from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, and 27 countries are represented. James Rue, a 58-year-old pro from Ohio, submitted his entry less than five minutes before the deadline, and Brian Gold, a 58-year-old amateur from Illinois, was the first entrant.

Eighteen-hole qualifying will be played from June 17-27 at 34 sites across the U.S.

'The U.S. Senior Open is considered the world's premier championship for men's senior golfers,' said Tom O'Toole, USGA vice president and championship committee chairman. 'The number of entries demonstrates the great interest in playing for the coveted Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy.'

Aside from Chapman, other former champions exempt are Olin Browne, Brad Bryant, Allen Doyle, Dave Eichelberger, Fred Funk, Hale Irwin, Peter Jacobsen, Bernhard Langer, Graham Marsh, Don Pooley and Eduardo Romero.