U.S. Open sectional recaps: Donald in; Stricker out

By Will GrayJune 9, 2015, 2:39 am

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – One of the more grueling days on the golf calendar is now complete. Here is a look at how things fared at each of the 10 U.S. Open sectional qualifying sites on Monday, as the field for Chambers Bay is nearly filled:

Columbus, Ohio: The deepest qualifying field saw a player with significant ties to Chambers Bay come out on top. Michael Putnam hails from tiny University Place, Wash., and is as close as it comes to an expert on next week’s venue. He shared co-medalist honors with PGA Tour rookie Sam Saunders, while newly-crowned NCAA individual champ Bryson DeChambeau shared third place with David Hearn.

Qualifying spots also went to Sebastian Cappelen, Daniel Summerhays, George McNeill, Ryo Ishikawa, Brad Fritsch, Cameron Smith, Bo Van Pelt and Camilo Villegas.

A 5-for-3 playoff was required to determine the final spots, where Danny Lee, Robert Streb and D.A. Points earned berths, while Kevin Chappell and Alex Cejka were relegated to alternates.

Other notable misses include Vijay Singh, Memorial champ David Lingmerth and Steve Stricker, who will miss the U.S. Open for the first time since 2005.


Scores: U.S. Open sectional qualifying results


Memphis, Tenn.: Days after his wife, Morgan, gave birth to the couple’s first child, rookie Blayne Barber earned co-medalist honors with Tyler Duncan and Brad Elder to earn a spot in his first U.S. Open.

The other qualifiers were highlighted by Retief Goosen, whose 10-year exemption for the most recent of his two U.S. Open wins expired last year. He made it on the number, as did Andres Romero, who chipped in for eagle on his final hole of the day.

Other spots went to Tom Hoge, Brandon Hagy, Charlie Beljan, Brian Harman and amateur Davis Riley. Among the notables on the outside of the cut line were Harris English, David Toms and Martin Laird, who all missed by two shots, as well as former world No. 1 David Duval.


Jupiter, Fla.: A recent run of poor results sent Luke Donald to qualifying for the first time in more than a decade, but the former world No. 1 ensured that his streak of major appearances remained intact. Donald rebounded from a slow start to share medalist honors with Andrew Pope and amateur Jack Maguire.

The final spot went to amateur standout Sam Horsfield, who missed by a shot at the Florida sectional last year but this time around outlasted amateur Cristobal del Solar.

Notable misses included former Ryder Cuppers Chris DiMarco and Brett Wetterich.


Purchase, N.Y.: Two-time U.S. Open champ Lee Janzen earned his way back into the field for the first time since 2008, shooting rounds of 69-68 to take medalist honors. Janzen finished two shots ahead of Jamie Lovemark, while the final two spots went to Pat Wilson and Rich Berberian.

Notable misses included Johnson Wagner and four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champ Nathan Smith.


Springfield, Ohio: Fresh off a T-8 finish at the Memorial, Tony Finau made only one bogey across 36 holes and qualified with rounds of 66-67. Michael Davan, a player without status on a major tour, earned medalist honors, while the final spots went to Web.com player Stephan Jaeger and amateur Nick Hardy, who just completed his freshman year at Illinois.

Brian Stuard, who medaled in Springfield each of the last two years, missed by four shots.


Dallas: Mark Silvers earned medalist honors with rounds of 66-65, but the biggest story was 15-year-old amateur Cole Hammer, who earned a spot after opening with a 64. Hammer will be the youngest participant next week, as the other qualifying spots went to amateurs Matt Mabrey and Kyle Jones along with former Texas standout Cody Gribble and veteran Jason Allred.

Those missing out included Peter Malnati, Steve Marino, Carlos Ortiz and Bob Estes, making his first competitive start in more than a year after a shoulder injury.


Rockville, Md.: Former Navy golfer Billy Hurley III returned to the Old Line State and earned a spot in the U.S. Open, sharing medalist honors with amateur Denny McCarthy after rounds of 66-72. The final spot went to veteran Tim O’Neal, who years ago saw his Tour card vanish with a triple bogey on the final hole of Q-School.

O’Neal edged out Joshua Persons in a playoff, while notable misses included Steve Wheatcroft and Mark Hubbard.


Ball Ground, Ga.: Matt NeSmith was the hottest player of any sectional Monday, running away with medalist honors at Hawks Ridge GC. NeSmith, who plays for the University of South Carolina, carded 17 birdies and an eagle across 36 holes, cruising to a four-shot win over University of Georgia standout Lee McCoy.

Veteran Roberto Castro grabbed the third and final spot, edging out his brother Franco by a shot. Former LSU teammates Smylie Kaufman and Stewart Jolly missed out, as did U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champ Todd White.


Newport Beach, Calif.: Kevin Lucas made only two bogeys across 36 holes to take medalist honors, two shots clear of a trio that included University of Texas standout Beau Hossler, who contended at the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic. Hossler shared second place with Jared Becher and amateur Jake Knapp, while spots also went to the University of Illinois’ Brian Campbell along with Josh Anderson and Alex Kim.

Those on the outside included Patrick Cantlay, Jason Gore and Max Homa, while Fred Couples withdrew before play began.


Cle Elum, Wash.: The day’s final qualifier produced a trio of University of Washington products, each of whom will have plenty of support at Chambers Bay. The list is led by standout Cheng-Tsung Pan, who earned medalist honors with two straight rounds of 1-under 69, while the other two spots went to another pair of Huskies, Richard Lee and Troy Kelly.

Those missing out included University of Oregon head coach Casey Martin, who came up five shots short.

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Koepka watches as named engraved again on U.S. Open trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 18, 2018, 12:10 am

For the second consecutive year, Brooks Koepka won the U.S. Open. So, once again he got to watch as his name was forever etched onto the trophy.

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Masters champ Reed: 'I definitely had a chance'

By Will GrayJune 17, 2018, 11:55 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Patrick Reed’s Grand Slam bid made it all the way to the closing stretch of the final round at the U.S. Open.

Reed had never cracked the top 10 in a major championship before a runner-up finish at last year’s PGA Championship, and he followed that with a convincing victory at the Masters in April. In the U.S. Open, despite starting the final round three shots behind a quartet of co-leaders, he made a concerted effort to add a second major title.

With Shinnecock Hills declawed in response to third-round conditions that bordered on unplayable, Reed birdied each of his first three holes and five of his first seven to move to 1 over and within a shot of Brooks Koepka’s lead. He could get no closer, though, as three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on Nos. 9-12 effectively ended his title bid.

Reed finished alone in fourth place at 4 over, three shots behind Koepka after closing with a 2-under 68.


U.S. Open: Tee times | Full coverage


“Of course, Grand Slam would have been nice. But you know, I mean honestly, to me, that was really the last thing on my mind,” Reed said. “It was go out, play some solid golf, try to post a number and see if you can get the job done. I had a chance. I definitely had a chance.”

It’s the third top-15 finish at the U.S. Open in the last four years for Reed, who tied for 13th at Chambers Bay and finished T-14 last year at Erin Hills.

Reed was bidding to erase a nine-shot deficit after 36 holes, which would have been the second-largest comeback in tournament history. He was also looking to join Craig Wood, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth on the short list of players to capture the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year.

“Of course it’s disappointing,” Reed said. “But at the same time … To finish in the top 10 my last three majors, and to have a chance to really win all three of them and to close one off, it means a lot.”

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Watching Koepka, Fleetwood knew he was one shot short

By Will GrayJune 17, 2018, 11:33 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – In the end, even a record-tying performance wasn’t enough for Tommy Fleetwood at the U.S. Open.

Fleetwood started the final round at Shinnecock Hills six shots off the pace, but he quickly moved up the board with a run of four birdies over his first seven holes. He added four more in a row on Nos. 12-15, and he had a 9-footer for birdie on No. 18 to become the first player to ever shoot a 62 in the U.S. Open.

He missed, and that proved to be the difference – for both the record and the tournament.

Fleetwood waited around in player hospitality for the next three hours while the leaders finished, alternating between watching the golf (with sandwich in hand) and playing with his newborn son, Frankie. He was on the chipping green when Brooks Koepka completed play at 1-over 281, successfully defending his title and finishing one shot ahead of Fleetwood.

“Brooks kept giving me like a little bit of hope, and then he’d hole a putt just to stab you in the stomach a little bit,” Fleetwood said. “I always just had that feeling that I was one shy, so I never really got massively, massively excited.”


U.S. Open: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage


This was the first year the U.S. Open would have gone to a two-hole, aggregate playoff, so Fleetwood needed to stay loose for a possible overtime that in previous years would have instead been an 18-hole playoff on Monday. He emerged from the locker room and headed to the range to warm up after Koepka birdied No. 16 to take a two-shot lead with two holes to play.

“I just thought, 'I should really go up, because you never know,'” Fleetwood said. “I mean, the worst thing that could happen is if something did happen and I wasn’t really ready, so it’s better warming up with that intention.”

The solo runner-up is a career-best major finish for Fleetwood, who also finished fourth last year at Erin Hills. He now shares a piece of tournament history, becoming just the sixth player to shoot a 63, joining a list that includes Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Johnny Miller, Vijay Singh and Justin Thomas.

And after torching a demanding layout to the tune of eight birdies, he insisted he won’t dwell much on the final putt that got away – even though Koepka’s closing bogey meant that it ultimately made the difference.

“The putt on 18, I actually wanted more for the 62 at the time, and then it became a thing for the tournament,” Fleetwood said. “Obviously, that’s the putt that will play on your mind because that was the last shot you hit and that was your chance. But I missed some putts in the week, and I made some putts. I think everybody did. And your score is your score. And for me, just getting that close to winning a major again, I think that is the ultimate thing I’ll take from it.”

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DJ and more congratulate Koepka on social media

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 17, 2018, 11:31 pm

Brooks Koepka won his second consecutive U.S. Open title at Shinnecock Hills. Dustin Johnson, his friend and playing competitor on Sunday, was quick to congratulate Koepka. And he wasn't alone.