COLUMBUS, Ohio – If you’re looking for someone to buy you an Ohio lottery ticket, may we suggest Brandt Jobe.
Barely had the excitement of Sunday’s dramatic finish at Muirfield Village Golf Club – with Jobe making eight birdies, shooting 65, and finishing joint second to earn $545,600 at the Memorial Tournament – died down when he found himself in the quiet surroundings of the Lakes Golf and Country Club Monday morning.
All he did to back up the previous day’s act was make eight birdies and an eagle to shoot a blistering 10 under 62 to get off to a rousing start in a 36-hole sectional qualifier for the U.S. Open. Taking a moment to have a quick lunch at Brookside Golf & Country Club, the 45-year-old agreed that he was on a roll.
“When you get going good, you want to take advantage,” Jobe said. “I just hope I have enough juice left.”
He did, too, because Jobe went over to the Lakes Course in the afternoon, played conservatively, and shot 2 under 70. For the day, he shared medalist honors at 12 under 132 with Chez Reavie (69 at Brookside, 63 at Lakes) and earned a ticket to his 12th U.S. Open.
Having battled injuries, Jobe had played in just nine PGA Tour tournaments the last two seasons, but has seemingly settled in a nice rhythm this year. He’s played in 17 tournaments and the Memorial resulted in his third top 10. Golf-wise, the U.S. Open qualifier comes at a good times, because he’s playing beautifully, but Jobe said the two-and-a-half-hour weather delay made for a long Sunday and he entered the qualifier tired.
Cantlay stays hot: Jobe did not exactly corner the market on hot play, however. Coming on the heels of his superb performance at the NCAA Championships where he finished second, UCLA freshman Patrick Cantlay opened with a 65 at the Lakes, then shot 70 at the Lakes to breeze in.
Cantlay made an eagle and seven birdies against just one bogey in his morning effort.
Oops: Actually, there should have been a three-way tie for medalist honors at 132, if not for a scorecard mishap involving Robert Garrigus.
Garrigus came off of the 18th at Brookside in the morning, knowing he had shot 6-under 66. Several times he said he asked the woman in scorer’s hut if it added up to 66, she said it did, then returned the card to him. Garrigus signed it, then made his way to the Lakes course for the afternoon.
“It’s like I made a bogey on the way over,” Garrigus said, because when he stepped to the tee he was told he had signed for a 67.
Vowing not to let it bother him, Garrigus went par, birdie, eagle and “I knew it wouldn’t matter so I let it go,” he said.
With a round of 68 at the Lakes, Garrigus officially finished third at 11-under 133, but it matters only that he’s made it into his third U.S. Open.
Asked what his philosophy is at the qualifiers, Garrigus laughed.
“You fire at every flag,” he said. “That’s all you can do. Just keep firing away till you run out of chances.”
Big playoff: With the main scoreboard located at Brookside, that’s where the action was late in the day and a crowd hovered to see where the cut would fall. With sixteen spots up for grabs, the guess was it would require a playoff at 8-under 136.
Wrong. It fell at 7-under 137 and when officials had everyone’s attention, it was announced that five players would play off for three spots.
That’s when Webb Simpson, who had just made it over from the Lakes course, tapped an official on the shoulder and said that he, too, had shot 137, though his name wasn’t on the board.
Officials huddled and things grew quiet.
“I told (caddie) Paul (Tesori) that it’s the most scared I’ve ever been,” Simpson said. “I kept thinking something bad must have happened.”
Having bogeyed the last hole at the Lakes, Simpson said he already had a bad taste in his mouth, so he almost had to hold his breath until the officials confirmed that Simpson had shot 68-69 – 137.
Good thing that Simpson monitored the situation, because a short time later he joined Tim Petrovic and Scott Hend as winners of the playoff. Brett Wetterich, J.J. Henry, and Kyle Stanley, were also in the playoff. All six made par at the 355-yard first hole, then Stanley got ousted when he bogeyed the 483-yard par 4 ninth.
Returning to the first hole, all five survivors had birdie putts. Petrovic made from about 20-25 feet. Wetterich missed from 15. Hend made from just inside of 15. Henry missed from about 12. Simpson converted from 8.
“I really, really wanted to play in a U.S. Open,” Simpson said.
It will be his first major championship appearance, but as much as he’ll remember the playoff birdie, it was on the second hole where he really stepped it up. Having missed the green right with a 7 iron from about 168 yards, Simpson got it up and down to stay in the playoff.
‘Getting better:’ Unheralded names, pop-up golf bags, young faces, old faces. These qualifiers have it all, but truly the most heartwarming scene at Brookside was Kevin Hall, the onetime Ohio State standout. Still an inspiration as he pursues a golf career despite being deaf, Hall opened with 70 at the Lakes and backed it up with 73 at Brookside.
At 1 under, he failed to qualify, but he maintained his positive outlook.
“I am getting better,” he wrote in a reporter’s notebook.
Committed to NPGT tournaments this year, Hall said he’d go onto Hooters Tour tournaments in September.
Tough loss: While all three of the playoff losers will be hurting, it was especially painful for Wetterich.
Having opened with a 67 at Brookside, the tougher of the layouts, Wetterich went to the Lakes and concluded a round of 70 with a bogey.
Streak ends: One year after being given an exemption into the U.S. Open, Singh opted not to try and qualify at Brookside and the Lakes. That ends his impressive streak of 67 consecutive major championship appearances. Singh hadn’t missed a major since the 1994 U.S. Open.
Though a bit more modest, Mike Weir’s major streak will also come to an end, at 48. Battling to regain the form that made him one of the world’s best players, the left-hander lost a ball on his first swing when he drove into a tree, then he drove out-of-bounds at the fourth. He was 5 over through five and while he settled down somewhat, shooting 77 at Brookside pretty much confirmed that he won’t be at Congressional CC.
Good caddie: Camilo Villegas showed up at Brookside’s seventh hole to caddie for his brother, Manuel.
“I had told him I had things to do,” Camilo said. “I had a little work out. It’s going to be a long day and I’m playing in the tournament in Memphis.”
Manuel, who carried his own bag for the first six holes, shot 74 and knew he needed to go low, real low, at the Lakes. Chances are, however, he was going to end the day carrying for himself, too.
“I have a 6 o’clock flight to catch,” Camilo said.
Manuel shot 71 in the afternoon, but did not advance.
Tough day: Brett Quigley twice had it to 4 under in the morning, but among the reasons he finished with a 72 at Brookside was a couple of three-putts, one from about 4 feet.
He didn’t get anything going in the afternoon, either, shooting 74.
Quigley’s caddie was former NHL All-Star center Adam Oates.
Another notable caddie was Bob Tway, who won his PGA Championship in the state of Ohio (the Inverness Club in Toledo). He caddied for son Kevin, who shot 71 at the Lakes in the morning, then 70 at Brookside in the afternoon.
Notes: Former U.S. Amateur champ Byeong-Hun An concedes he was humbled by a 76 at Brookside, but he wasn’t about to go so far as to suggest it will lead him to re-think his decision to turn pro. “I need to step up my game; it’s a really tough life,” An said. Thinking he’d like to give the U.S. Amateur one more try, then turn pro . . . . . When he won the U.S. Open in 1996, Steve Jones got through sectional qualifying here, so he figured he’d give it another shot. He shot 68-73 and failed to advance, though he’s encouraged with the way he’s playing. “I’m made at myself for not doing well here,” he said . . . . . Robert Gamez watched six players head to the first tee for a playoff and was shaking his head. Having shot 67 at the Lakes, then 71 at Brookside, he missed the playoff by one and could point to his 36th hole. “From 143 yards I had a three-quarter 9 iron,” he said. “The wind came up and I hit it over the green and made bogey.” . . . . . One by one, PGA Tour players soured on their scores and quit the qualifying process early. Rocco Mediate, Bill Lunde, Ricky Barnes, Pat Perez, Jerry Kelly, Steve Marino, Matt Bettencourt, and Ryuji Imada all quit before completing 36 holes.