Zhang, 14, flirts with history but fails to qualify

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LECANTO, Fla. – Scott Langley, 23, cruised to medalist honors at the U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Black Diamond Ranch, but it was 14-year-old Andy Zhang that flirted with golf history.

Zhang, who is from China and attends the nearby IMG Golf Academy, narrowly missed his 33-foot eagle attempt on his last hole in regulation and lost a playoff to Brooks Koepka, who birdied the first extra hole to earn his first trip to the national championship.

Zhang finished with rounds of 70-72 and would have been the youngest player in U.S. Open history by more than a year had he advanced.

“I put everything I could into (his 12 footer for birdie on the first playoff hole),” Zhang said. “My dad told me as long as I tried my best that’s all that mattered.”

For Langley, it didn’t appear as if he had his best stuff early on a windswept day in west Florida. He opened with a 73 but rallied with a round-of-the-day 66 that included a birdie on his final hole.

“It was definitely a U.S. Open qualifier out there,” said Langley, who will be playing in his second U.S. Open. “It was tough, but I told myself to keep my head down and focus.”

Although Langley has never played The Olympic Club he did get a peek two weeks ago while on vacation in San Francisco, walking the first seven holes with a friend.

He will be joined by Englishman Sam Osborne, who carded rounds of 71-70 to finish alone in second place.