Sixteen-Year-Old Qualifies for Open
See who earned a spot through Sectional Qualifying
The Columbine Country Club had 31 players competing for two spots and after Tolan's chip-in found the bottom of the cup, PGA Tour professional Mike Reid and Mike Zaremba were reduced to alternate status.
'I never felt so nervous and so excited in my whole life,' said Tolan, who just completed his sophomore year in high school. 'It hasn't sunk in yet. I remember thinking to myself that the chip didn't have a chance but somehow it went in.'
Tolan won this year's Arizona Junior Classic and played in both the 2001 U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur Championship.
Tolan joined Ben Portie as qualifiers from Columbine Country Club. Portie carded a 9-under-par 135 Monday as he earned medalist honors at the 36-hole qualifying event.
Peter Lonard headlined the largest qualifying group Monday in Rockville, Md., at Woodmont Country Club when he fired a 15-under-par 138. Thirty-three of 34 spots were filled in Maryland on Monday and a 12-man playoff will take place for the final berth Tuesday morning. Hank Kuehne, Dennis Paulson, Duffy Waldorf and Bob May, the 2000 PGA Championship runner-up to Tiger Woods, are among the players who will fight for the last spot from Woodmont.
Among the players who qualified in Maryland Monday were Steve Pate, Tim Herron, Blaine McCallister and Charles Howell III, who lost an automatic bid when he fell out of the top 50 in the World Golf Rankings the week of the Memorial.
Fred Couples, the 1992 Masters champion, will not compete in this year's U.S. Open in two weeks. He missed a spot in the field when posted an even-par 143 at Woodmont.
Steve Flesch set a course record at the TPC at River's Bend in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his first-round 64. He added a 71 in the second 18 to earn the final of three spots. Todd Rose was the medalist in Ohio with an 11-under-par 133 and Ian Leggatt, the 2002 Tucson Open champion, earned the other berth in the field.
Ryan Moore, who plays collegiately at UNLV, outlasted 16 other players for the lone spot out of The Reserve Vineyards in Oregon. Moore, the 2001 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up, shot a 6-under-par 138.
At Lake Merced Golf and Country Club in California, Andy Miller, son of 1973 U.S. Open champion Johnny Miller, set the pace with a 7-under-par 135. PGA Tour player Paul Goydos and amateur Ricky Barnes will join Miller in the 2002 U.S. Open.
Britain's Justin Rose, who won the British Masters over the weekend, withdrew from qualifying at Lake Merced.
Inclement weather stopped play Monday at Biltmore Country Club in Illinois. Thunderstorms caused a near four-hour delay Monday and only 14 players completed their first rounds. Play will resume Tuesday morning to find the three qualifiers from the Biltmore.
Sectional qualifying will also take place at six other sites Tuesday.
The 2002 U.S. Open is scheduled from June 13-16 at Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y.
Full coverage of the 102nd U.S. Open
Garcia leads as Valderrama Masters extends to Monday
Weather continues to be the enemy at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia remains in front as the tournament heads for a Monday finish.
European Tour officials had already ceded the fact that 72 holes would not be completed this week in Spain, but players were not even able to finish 54 holes before another set of thunderstorms rolled in Sunday afternoon to once again halt play. Garcia remains in front at 10 under, having played seven holes of the third round in even par, while Lee Westwood is alone in second at 7 under.
Officials had previously stated an intention to play at least 54 holes, even if that meant extending the tournament to Monday, given that this is the final chance for many players to earn Race to Dubai points in an effort to secure European Tour cards for 2019. Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions will be the final event of the regular season, followed by a three-event final series.
Garcia, who won the tournament last year, started the third round with a four-shot lead over Ashley Chesters. He balanced one birdie with one bogey and remains in position for his first worldwide victory since the Asian Tour's Singapore Open in January.
Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, made the biggest charge up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first eight holes. He'll have 10 holes to go when play resumes at 9:10 a.m. local time Monday as he looks to win for the first time since the 2015 Indonesian Masters.
Shane Lowry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are tied for third at 6 under, four shots behind Garcia with 10 holes to play, while Chesters made two double bogeys over his first four holes to drop into a tie for sixth.
Azinger to replace Miller as lead NBC golf analyst
Major champion and former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger has been named lead golf analyst for NBC Sports beginning in 2019, replacing Johnny Miller, who announced his retirement last week.
Azinger, 58, will assume the role following Miller’s final event, the Jan. 31-Feb. 3 Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Azinger’s playing career included 12 PGA Tour victories highlighted by his victory at the 1993 PGA Championship. He has worked since 2005 as an analyst for multiple television outlets, and in 2008 he successfully captained the U.S. Ryder Cup team to its first win in nine years.
Azinger will regularly appear during all four days of tournament coverage on Golf Channel and NBC when on assignment. His first event as lead analyst will be the WGC-Mexico Championship, played Feb. 21-24.
“I have great admiration for both the quality of NBC Sports’ coverage and commitment to great storytelling, as well as the network’s deep commitment to the game I love,” Azinger said. “It is a great honor to cover a tremendous slate of PGA Tour and marquee events, including The Players, The Open, Ryder Cup and Tokyo (2020) Olympics.”
In addition to offering his views from some of the biggest events of the year, Azinger will also contribute to various instructional, documentary and news platforms on Golf Channel. He will retain his current roles broadcasting the Masters for the BBC and the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open for Fox Sports.
Azinger was selected to replace Miller, 71, who last week announced plans to end an iconic career after nearly 30 years in the booth.
“Following Johnny Miller is a tall order,” said Golf Channel executive vice president Molly Solomon. “However, we’re confident in Paul’s ability to serve our viewers with candor and sharp insight, pulling from his decorated professional golf career and extensive broadcast experience.”
Austin wins Champions tour's playoff opener
RICHMOND, Va. -- Woody Austin knew Bernhard Langer was lurking throughout the final nine holes, and he did just enough to hold him off.
Austin shot a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory Sunday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.
Langer, the defending tournament champion and series points leader, made the turn one shot off the lead, but eight straight pars kept him from ever gaining a share of the lead. Austin's birdie from 6 feet on the closing hole allowed him to hang on for the victory.
''It seemed like he couldn't quite get it over the hump,'' Austin said about Langer, who also birdied No. 18. ''I'm not going to feel bad for the guy. The guy's kind of had things go his way for the last 12 years. Now he sees what it's like to have it happen.''
The 54-year-old Austin finished with an 11-under total for three rounds at The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course. He won his fourth senior title and first since 2016, and said windy and cool conditions that made scoring difficult played to his advantage.
''I was happy to see it. I really enjoy a difficult test,'' he said. ''... I enjoy even par meaning something. That's my game.''
Langer closed with a 70. The winner last week in North Carolina, the 61-year-old German star made consecutive birdies to finish the front nine, but had several birdie putts slide by on the back.
''I made a couple important ones and then I missed a couple important ones, especially the one on 16,'' Langer said. ''I hit three really good shots and had about a 6-footer, something like that, and I just didn't hit it hard enough. It broke away.''
Austin dropped a stroke behind Jay Haas and Stephen Ames with a bogey on the par-3 14th. He got that back with a birdie from about 5 feet on the par-4 15th and then got some good fortune on the final hole when his firmly struck chip hit the flag and stopped about 6 feet away.
''I always say usually the person that wins gets a break on Sunday,'' he said. ''That was my break.''
The 64-year-old Haas, the second-round leader after a 65, had a 74 to tie for third with Fran Quinn (69) and Kent Jones (70) at 9 under. Haas was bidding to become the oldest winner in the history of the tour for players 50 and older.
''Disappointed, for sure,'' Haas said. ''Not going to get many more opportunities like this, but it gives me hope, too, that I can still do it.''
The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 move on to the Invesco QQQ Championship next week in Thousand Oaks, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
After Further Review: American success stories
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the global nature of Koepka's rise to No. 1 ...
Brooks Koepka is an American superstar, and a two-time winner of his national open. But his rise to world No. 1 in, of all places, South Korea, emphasizes the circuitous, global path he took to the top.
After winning the CJ Cup by four shots, Koepka was quick to remind reporters that he made his first-ever start as a pro in Switzerland back in 2012. He cracked the top 500 for the first time with a win in Spain, and he broke into the top 100 after a good week in the Netherlands.
Koepka languished on the developmental Challenge Tour for a year before earning a promotion to the European Tour, and he didn’t make a splash in the States until contending at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
It’s a testament to Koepka’s adaptability and raw talent that he can handle the heights of Crans-Montana as well as the slopes of Shinnecock Hills or rough of Nine Bridges. And as the scene shifts to China next week, it highlights the global nature of today’s game – and the fact that the best in the world can rise to the occasion on any continent. - Will Gray
On the resurgence of American women ...
American women are on a nice roll again. Danielle Kang’s victory Sunday at the Buick LPGA Shanghai was the third by an American over the last five events. Plus, Annie Park and Marina Alex, emerging American talents looking for their second victories this season, tied for second. So did American Brittany Altomare. Two years ago, Americans won just twice, their fewest victories in a single season in LPGA history. Overall, women from the United States have won seven times this season.
The Americans are making their move with Stacy Lewis on maternity leave and with Lexi Thompson, the highest ranked American in the world, still looking for her first victory this year. Yes, the South Koreans have won nine times this season, but with four LPGA events remaining in 2018 the Americans actually have a chance to be the winningest nation in women’s golf this year. With all the grief they’ve received the last few years, that would be a significant feat. - Randall Mell