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USGA receives record number of U.S. Open entries

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Those hoping to hoist the trophy at the U.S. Open later this summer will have to battle a record field of entrants in order to do so.

Registration closed Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET for the 113th U.S. Open, played this year at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. When the last of the stragglers had sent in their entries, a total of 9,860 participants were registered, breaking the previous mark of 9,086 that registered for the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage.

Each of the 50 states will be represented across a series of 111 local, 18-hole qualifiers set to take place between May 3-16. The USGA announced that it also received entries from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 73 foreign countries.

'The fact that we have a record number of entries, from across the world, is a testament to both the great appeal of the U.S. Open and the historic nature and grandeur of Merion Golf Club,' said USGA executive director Mike Davis as part of a release.

To enter, players were required to have either professional status or a handicap index of 1.4 or better. Once the local qualifiers conclude, the remaining players will participate in one of 13, 36-hole sectional qualifiers: two held internationally on May 27 (one in Japan, one in England), and 11 held across the U.S. on June 3.

While online registration has been open for several weeks, the USGA still saw many players wait until the last minute before submitting their entry. A total of 643 applications were received on Wednesday, the final day of registration, with 141 coming in the final hour and 45-year-old Joseph Bush earning the distinction of 'last man entered.' Bush, a professional from Scotch Plains, N.J., turned in his entry just eight seconds before the deadline.

Currently 52 players are fully exempt into the season's second major, including a group of 11 former winners highlighted by defending champion Webb Simpson.