Gary Nicklaus Earns Trip to US Open


Gary Nicklaus posted a pair of 66s Monday to earn a berth in the 101st U.S. Open Championship, slated for June 14-17 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 32-year-old son of golf legend Jack Nicklaus had the lowest score after 36 holes of sectional qualifying at The Lakes Golf and Country Club and Double Eagle Club near Columbus, Ohio.
Sectional qualifying was held at eight other sites around the country Monday with four more qualifiers scheduled for Tuesday. With 67 players already fully exempt from qualifying, more than 750 golfers began competing Monday for the remaining 89 spots in the 156-man field.
Complete Sectional Qualifying Results
The elder Nicklaus, the winner of 18 major championships including four U.S. Opens, will not be in this year's field, snapping his streak of 44 consecutive appearances.
His son, however, will be making his second Open start after missing the cut in his first appearance at Congressional in 1997. Nicklaus, who carded 14 birdies against only two bogeys in his two rounds Monday, has played in 16 events on the PGA Tour in 2001 and has missed the cut 11 times. His best finish was a tie for 15th this past weekend at the Memorial, the tournament hosted annually by his father.
A total of 120 golfers attempted to qualify for 26 spots at the two Columbus area courses. Fred Couples, who has competed in 18 U.S. Opens including 12 of the last 13, shot 69-66 for a 135 total and was among the prominent PGA Tour players to make it into this year's Open field. Other notable qualifiers were Glen Day, Harrison Frazar, Fred Funk, Robert Gamez, Dudley Hart, Tim Herron, Steve Lowery, Carl Paulson, Brett Quigley, Steve Stricker and Bob Tway.
European Tour players Jarmo Sandelin of Finland and Peter Lonard of Australia also qualified.
A nine-man playoff was needed to fill the final two spots allocated to the Columbus site. Esteban Toledo, John Maginnes and Bill Glasson each recorded birdies at the first extra hole to advance, but Glasson was eliminated when he missed a five-foot par putt at the second playoff hole.
Glasson, a resident of Oklahoma whose home club is Southern Hills, will be the first alternate from Columbus qualifying.
Those not qualifying in Columbus included Billy Mayfair, the winner of the 1995 Tour Championship at Southern Hills, and Scott McCarron, who titled at the BellSouth Classic in April. John Cook, Ted Tryba, Frank Nobilo, Joey Sindelar and 20-year-old Australian Aaron Baddeley also failed to earn spots.
At Northwood Club in Dallas, Chris Wall qualified with a 139 total despite not having his driver for the last seven holes. His caddie accidentally broke the club and Wall finished up driving with his three-wood.
Ben Crenshaw, captain of the victorious 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup team and a two- time Masters champion, came up short in his bid for one of three spots at the Dallas sectional. He double-bogeyed his last two holes for a five-over-par 76
Amateur Bryce Molder, a four-time All-American at Georgia Tech, grabbed the first of four Atlanta sectional spots with the help of a course-record 64 in his morning round at East Lake Golf Club. He shot 69 the second time around for a 133 to finish two shots ahead of second-place Billy Andrade, the winner of four PGA Tour events.
1997 U.S. Amateur champion Matthew Kuchar and 2000 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion D.J. Trahan were among those who failed to qualify at East Lake.
John Harris, the 1993 U.S. Amateur champion, took one of the three qualifying spots awarded at Cantigny Golf Club in Chicago, while Bradley Klaprott and current Tour money leader Chad Campbell earned the two Cleveland spots at Kirtland Country Club.
The Denver site took only two qualifiers, and 1982 Masters champ Craig Stadler wasn't one of them. Stadler shot 70-71 at Columbine Country Club to miss by four strokes.
More Golf Headlines!