Fewer players are vying for this year's U.S. Open title. The USGA announced Thursday that it has accepted 9,882 qualifying entries for the Chambers Bay edition, down from last year's total.
Pinehurst No. 2 drew a record 10,127 entries a year ago. This year's total is the second-highest application in the event's history, just ahead of Merion two years ago (9,860 entries).
Players with either professional status or a handicap index of 1.4 or lower had until April 29 to submit an application, and there were plenty of stragglers. A total of 535 applications were accepted on the final day, including 97 in the final hour. Josh Williamowsky, a 30-year-old amateur from Bethesda, Md., was the last player accepted, having submitted his online registration just 21 seconds before the entry deadline.
Forty-nine players are already exempt for this year's event outside Seattle, a list that will grow with exemptions handed out in the coming weeks based on world ranking and tournament victories. The majority of entrants will tee it up in local qualifying, held at 111 sites nationwide from May 4-21. Sectional qualifiers will follow, with two international sites on May 25 and 10 domestic sites on June 8.
The U.S. Open will be held June 18-21 in University Place, Wash.