Most of Monday’s action at the various final qualifiers for the U.S. Open unfolded in relative obscurity, but for Justin Suh, the dramatic finish came with a welcomed soundtrack.
“There were a bunch of fans and a bunch of my buddies came out. Roy [Cootes] made his 50-footer, he was the home course favorite; I made my putt and all I could hear was my boys screaming,” Suh said.
Cootes and Suh earned the final two spots into next week’s U.S. Open in a four-for-two playoff thanks to birdies on the first playoff hole.
Suh, who is from San Jose, California, and played college golf at USC, needed two playoff holes to earn his spot in the field at Torrey Pines, but it was worth the extra effort.
“It means a lot. Especially with the SC fans that all came out. Most of the members at Rollings Hills saw me when Pac 12s were there. I saw a lot of familiar faces,” Suh said. “There were a bunch of people from L.A. who came out to watch.”
His gallery will probably only get bigger at Torrey Pines, which Suh estimated he’s played about 20 times, including this year’s Farmers Insurance Open, where he tied for 37th and seemed to secure himself some good will after donating half his earnings to the Century Club’s charities.
“It’s probably good karma. There was nothing more I wanted then to get back and play that course during the U.S. Open. Just being so familiar with it and playing well there,” he said. “Me and my caddie had our eyes set on it for a while.”
Being a Californian, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines means a little something extra to Suh. Although he was just 11 years old at the time, he vividly remembers Tiger Woods winning the 2008 national championship on the South Course.
“I remember the finish. I was at a junior tournament and it was a match play event and I didn’t even care how our match went. I went straight to the restaurant bar trying to see that [winning] putt,” said Suh, who added that he’s attempted Woods’ famous putt on the 72nd green at Torrey Pines many times.
“Oh yeah. I did it earlier this year. I got pretty close to my tee.”