Vogel fires 69 at Open qualifier in first pro start


BALL GROUND, Ga. – T.J. Vogel is hoping his first day as a pro results in his second major appearance.

Vogel, who last week completed his college career at Florida, turned pro before Monday’s 36-hole sectional qualifier at Hawks Ridge Golf Club.

“I’m really excited,” he said after his opening 3-under 69. “I can finally be fully committed to golf 24/7 and not have to worry about school. I’ve never done that in my life.”

Vogel won the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links last summer, which earned him an exemption into the Masters, where he missed the cut. The APL win also exempted him into sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, but Vogel wanted to turn pro after last week’s NCAAs.

So he recently did his research. Vogel contacted the USGA, which told him that he would not be able to accept the local exemption here if he turned pro. So he instead went the conventional route, advancing through local qualifying, and he is hoping to earn one of three available spots in this 51-player field.

Like any young pro, Vogel is now trying to earn as many spot starts as he can. He’s waiting to hear back from a few tournament directors on the PGA Tour, but he also has starts lined up on both the European and Canadian tours.