It's no easy task making it through sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. But the annual tradition, dubbed "Golf's Longest Day" by Golf Channel, is a welcome return to the June calendar in 2021 after being cancelled due to the Covid pandemic in 2021. At AmateurGolf.com, we love covering the 36-hole "finals" for a number of reasons, but first and foremost is that they represent the best chance for amateurs to make it into a major. All resumes are cast aside, as evidenced on May 24 when 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell made a run, but ultimately failed to advance to Torrey Pines while two amateurs took medalist honors at Dallas Athletic Club.
Below, we provide a preview of each of the nine locations holding U.S. Open Final qualifiers on Monday, June 7, along with links to pairings and results. The pairings links are provided by the state and regional golf associations running the events, and will often have results information as well. The results link will take you to the USGA live scoring pages. If you're interested in the latest, try both links to see which works best. And look for a follow up email from us on Tuesday morning with amateur highlights. Let's start in Florida:
THE BEAR'S CLUB -- JUPITER, FL
Three Walker Cup members from opposite sides headline the amateur contingent playing The Bear's Club, not far from where the Walker Cup was held last month (Seminole). GB&I team member Alex Fitzpatrick
, the spirited Englishman and brother of PGA Tour player Matthew, has everything needed to take his game to Torrey Pines. So does his teammate Jake Bolton
, an alternate who got "called up" when Sandy Scott WD'd with a wrist injury. Ricky Castillo
, the winning USA team's undefeated standout, hails from California but plays for University of Florida. They will be up against not only talented amateurs like Stanford star Karl Vilips
of Australia. And in Florida, you can always count on top local pros and journeymen from the various tours. One of them, goes by the name Luke Donald. And rounding out the pro side? 2009 U.S. Open champion (at Bethpage Black) Lucas Glover.
PIEDMONT DRIVING CLUB -- ATLANTA, GA
Piedmont Driving Club. Sounds like a nice, gentle place to have a day of golf. The name comes from the club members' desire to "drive" their horse and carriage to the course as far back as 1887. But the new layout, designed by Rees Jones, is no picnic. At almost 7100 yards with a rating of 73.6 and slope of 142, the layout will provide plenty of challenge for amateurs of all ages. Like Ford Clegg
of Mississippi State on the young side, recent Lupton Invitational champ Joe Deraney
(a Mid-Am) and Bob Royak
, exempt through local qualifying as the 2019 U.S. Senior Am champion. Plenty of talented professionals stand in their way, like Heath Slocum, Keith Mitchell, and Kyle Reifers.
WOODMONT CC (NORTH) -- ROCKVILLE, MD.
Rockville, Maryland may be the town that R.E.M.'s Mike Mills advised his girlfriend not to go back to, but the USGA returns year after year for USGA final qualifying. Woodmont Country Club will play host to the 2021 qualifier run by the Middle Atlantic Golf Association. On the amateur side, GB&I Walker Cup second reserve Joseph Pagdin
is looking to make some noise and get to Torrey Pines. He and the other amateurs will face talented tour-winning pros like Sean O'Hair, Tee-K Kelly, and Curtis Thompson -- Lexi's brother. If she wins the U.S. Women's Open, that's sure to be an inspiration for her older bro.
CENTURY CC & OLD OAKS CC -- PURCHASE, NY
The Met Section final qualifier is always stacked with talent - and perhaps best remembered for having a huge gallery of 10,000 onlookers when Michelle Wie West made a run at a spot in the U.S. Open back in 2006 at age 16. This year, the amateur contingency includes NHL referee and top mid-am Garrett Rank
of Canada, along with young guns like Benjamin James
(18, Milford, Conn.), Michael Thorbjornsen
(19, Wellesley, Mass.). Thorbjornsen won the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur at Baltusrol and advanced to the quarterfinals of last year’s U.S. Amateur. He finished 79th in the 2019 U.S. Open and just recently tied 13th in this year’s Pac-12 Conference Championship as a freshman at Stanford University. James was the third-youngest player in last year’s U.S. Amateur and had a standout summer in 2019, winning his second straight New England Junior Invitational, competing on the U.S. Junior Presidents Cup and winning the Connecticut Junior Amateur. On the pro side two players riding waves of momentum include Cameron Young, who won back-to-back Korn Ferry Tour events in May. Young will have the edge of previously qualifying for the Open at Purchase, back in 2019. He's joined by Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who also has a recent victory to his credit, winning the European Tour’s Made in HimmerLand event in Denmark by five shots.
BROOKSIDE G&CC AND THE LAKES G&CC -- COLUMBUS, OH
This is the tour spot, where non-exempt players competing in The Memorial will grind it out for 36-holes to try and get in the field at Torrey Pines. With that many talented players, the USGA provides more spots, and some amateurs think that's a good thing. Winning USA Walker Cup team members Cole Hammer
and Pierceson Coody
know they want to compete against the world's best soon, so why not here? And recent NCAA individual medalist Turk Pettit
is on a medal play roll, so if the courses are to his liking, don't bet against him. Playing well on the pro side are Keegan Bradley, Brandon Hagy, Doug Ghim, and Charley Hoffman. And never, ever, count out Padraig Harrington. I'm not sure of the spectator allowance, but if I lived in Columbus, this would be a great place to spend a Monday afternoon.
SPRINGFIELD COUNTRY CLUB -- SPRINGFIELD, OH
USA Walker Cup team member Quade Cummins
paces the 24 amateurs at Springfield. He's coming off the sting of losing the final match at the NCAA Championship to Pepperdine, possibly motivating the fiery Oklahoman to make it to Torrey Pines. Xavier University grad Matthew Wetterich
is also in the field as an amateur. Also, Anawin Pikulthong
, who recently won the AJGA's PING Heather Farr Classic at 14-under-par. And one more name stands out. That would be Sahith Theegala
, the Pepperdine Wave who never got to play in the 2020 NCAA Championship due to that event's Covid-cancellation. As he watched his Waves win in 2021, perhaps the adrenaline got flowing for the former world No. 1 amateur to take his game to Torrey Pines. Two-time PGA Tour winner Michael Thompson, Troy Merritt, Dylan Meyer, Shintaro Ban, and Nick Hardy, are all pros with their eye on the prize.
ROLLING HILLS CC -- ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, CA
Just up the road from Torrey Pines (ok, 109 miles is a bit more than "up the road") lies a wonderful David McLay Kidd remodel where on many holes players can get creative with hybrid or iron bump-and-runs from within 100 yards of the green. The Scottish-born Kidd, best known for designing the original course at Bandon Dunes, will likely be watching with keen interest as top West Coast players test their imagination at the aptly named Rolling Hills. USA Walker Cup and NCAA winning member of the Pepperdine team William Mouw
paces a field of over 40 amateurs hoping to qualify. His teammate and fellow Californian Stewart Hagestad
will also be in the field along with another past USGA Mid-Am Champion, Kevin O'Connell
of North Carolina. 2018 U.S. Am runner-up Devon Bling
of UCLA will be there, along with Stanford star and GB&I Walker Cup standout Barclay Brown
. We're going to also be cheering for one two of Northern California's top players and AG Tour players Nick Moore
and Weston Payne
. We've seen both go deep and play their best golf under pressure. A nice list of journeyman and young pros include Spencer Levin (who once finished 12th as an amateur at the U.S. Open) and former USC star Justin Suh, trying to carve out a spot on the tours after turning pro in 2019 along with collegiate rivals Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland, who all broke through quickly. Gaining a spot at Torrey Pines could be just what Suh needs to jump-start his career.
LONG COVE CLUB -- HILTON HEAD, SC
Just 7 of the 53 players in this small qualifier are amateurs. Caden Fioroni
of San Diego (Pepperdine) and Mason Glinski
of Loyola Marymount are joined by 5 players from 5 different states. They will have their hands full with pros in the field including Brandt Snedeker, Ian Poulter, Curtis Luck, John Augenstein, Bill Haas, and Ricky Barnes. Young gun Akshay Bhatia is in the field too. The course, like all of the U.S. Open final host sites, will be set up tough, at 7094 yards with a rating of 74.9 and slope of 141. Should be fun.
MEADOW SPRINGS CC -- RICHLAND, WA
There are 45 players in the field in Washington; 20 of them are amateurs. Conner Kumpula
is an Oregon State standout - he's joined by a number of international players that include Yash Majmudar
of Singapore. Let's see how they compete against the pros. The biggest name in the field is Maverick McNealy. He has a track record of taking it deep in Washington when playing collegiate events and NCAA regionals while at Stanford. And we have our eye on AG Tour alum and St. Mary's star Blake Hathcoat, who recently turned pro after a run at the U.S. Four-Ball with partner and college teammate Mikey Slesinski.
MAY 24, 2021
DALLAS ATHLETIC CLUB -- DALLAS, TX
We were all over this a couple of weeks ago, when rain turned a one day qualifier into a 2-day survival fest. Two amateurs led the charge, Mattias Schmid
and Matthew Sharpstene
STORY & RESULTS
THE ROYAL GOLF CLUB -- JAPAN
GOLF CHANNEL will once again be going deep to cover Golf's Longest Day. Coverage all day on June 7 and will be followed by a thee-part docuseries called From Many, One
: Inside the 2021 U.S. Open starting June 8. Here are the details on the June 7 coverage:
Elevated coverage plans will continue from 6 p.m. until final results, and the U.S. Open field is nearly completed at around midnight ET. Shane Bacon, Damon Hack, Anna Whiteley, Jaime Diaz and Tripp Isenhour will anchor studio coverage. Rich Lerner and Paige Mackenzie will report from Torrey Pines. Following are reporting assignments across the U.S. Open Final Qualifying locations:
George Savaricas -- Long Cove Club – Hilton Head, S.C.
Ryan Lavner -- The Bear’s Club – Jupiter, Fla.
Steve Burkowski -- Piedmont Driving Club – Atlanta, Ga.
Hailey Hunter -- Woodmont Country Club (North Course) – Rockville, Md.
Jimmy Roberts -- Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country Club – Purchase, N.Y.
Todd Lewis -- Brookside Golf & Country Club & The Lakes Golf & Country Club – Columbus, Ohio
Rex Hoggard -- Springfield Country Club – Springfield, Ohio
Kira K. Dixon -- Rolling Hills Country Club – Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
Matt Ginella -- Meadow Springs Country Club – Richland, Wash.