We’ve got you covered with recaps, scores and photos from the 11 domestic and two overseas U.S. Open sectional qualifiers.
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Germantown CC (par 71), Memphis, Tenn.
Number of entrants: 84
Number of qualifying spots: 9
Qualifiers: Tommy Biershenk (9 under), Aaron Watkins (8 under), Joe Ogilvie (8 under), Hunter Hamrick (8 under), Joe Durant (8 under), Stephen Ames (8 under), William Lunde (7 under), Hunter Haas (7 under), Roberto Castro (6 under, won in playoff over Thompson, Wyatt)
Alternates: Kyle Thompson, Bobby Wyatt (2nd alternate)
Notables who missed out: Frank Lickliter (4 under), Arjun Atwal (4 under), D.J. Trahan (4 under), Chad Campbell (3 under), Lee Janzen (2 under), Justin Leonard (even), David Duval (even), Ryan Palmer (3 over), Scott Stallings (WD after opening 68)
How it happened: Tommy Biershenk got off to a hot start and never looked back, carding rounds of 67-66 to take medalist honors at the last U.S. Open sectional qualifier for 2012. Biershenk had 11 birdies over the two rounds – all on different holes, nonetheless – and was 6 under on Germantown’s par 4s. The Clemson product has played in 14 PGA Tour stops this season, making the cut in seven of them. This will be his first appearance at the U.S. Open.
Meanwhile, there was a logjam in second place, highlighted by amateur Hunter Hamrick, who is coming off a disappointing team loss with the University of Alabama in the NCAA Championship finale against Texas. Hamrick – who did win his final match at the NCAAs 6 and 5 over Texas’ Julio Vegas – had back-to-back rounds of 67 to qualify for his first U.S. Open.
PGA Tour veterans Joe Durant, Joe Ogilvie and Stephen Ames all got through without many problems, with Ames firing an opening-round 65 to match the low round of the day.
The final spot came down to a 3-for-1 playoff between amateur Bobby Wyatt (also of Alabama), Kyle Thompson and Roberto Castro (a winner of five eGolf Tour events) – with all three looking for their first trip to a U.S. Open.
Wyatt – a Tide sophomore who once shot a 57 at the Alabama Boys State Championship – was the first player to bow out, beaten by a pair of birdie putts on the third playoff hole.
Playing the par-4 16th – a short 395 yards – for the second time in the playoff (Castro birdied it twice in his first 36 holes, while Thompson had a par and birdie), and Castro simply needed a par to close out Thompson to grab the final spot. Thompson will be the first alternate.
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Emerald Valley GC (par71), Creswell, Ore.
Number of entrants: 37
Number of qualifying spots: 2
Qualifiers: Casey Martin (4 under), amateur Nick Sherwood (3 under) (defeated Daniel Miernicki in a Tuesday playoff)
Alternates: Daniel Miernicki (3 under), Chris Williams (1 under)
Notables who missed out: Amateurs Dan Whitaker (3 over) and Cheng-Tsung Pan (4 over)
How it happened: University of Oregon men’s coach Casey Martin won a sectional qualifier Monday for the U.S. Open by shooting back-to-back rounds of 2-under 69 at Emerald Valley Golf Resort.
Martin’s 4-under-par total edged one of his Oregon golfers, Daniel Miernicki, and an Oregon State rival, Nick Sherwood, by one stroke. Darkness pushed the sudden-death playoff for the second exemption to Tuesday morning. Sherwood won with a par on the third playoff hole.
Martin triumphed Monday on a day filled with low temperatures, persistent rainfall and a two-hour lightning delay.
“I would not have entered if this qualifier hadn’t been in Oregon,” Martin said. Emerald Valley is one of three courses used by Martin’s Oregon golf team.
The opening 18 took more than five hours to play. Then came the lightning delay, forcing Martin into a fast-play scenario.
Martin bogeyed 16 and 17, which put him into an awkward position playing the final hole. He needed a par to win by one stroke, and he got it when he two-putted from 45 feet. His first putt was 4 feet short, but he rolled that one into the middle of the hole.
“Out there on the back nine, I thought I had about a five-shot lead,” Martin said. “Then I made those two bogeys, and suddenly I found out I was only one shot ahead.”
With a spot in next week’s U.S. Open on the line, Sherwood and Miernicki returned to Emerald Valley on Tuesday morning for a sudden-death playoff.
Sherwood won on the third playoff hole – the par-4 12th – by hitting a brilliant 4-iron shot to 15 feet and two-putting for par.
“Dan’s one of my good buddies,” Sherwood said. “I wish both of us could play (at San Francisco’s Olympic Club).”
Miernicki was doomed by a drive into the right-hand trees at No. 12, and ultimately he ended up one-putting for a bogey-5. Sherwood, trying to lag his first putt, nevertheless hit it 3 feet past the hole. He then made the winning par putt.
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Lake Merced GC (par 72), Daly City, Calif.
Number of entrants: 130
Number of qualifying spots: 6
Qualifiers: James Hahn (8 under), amateur Beau Hossler (7 under), Alex Cejka (7 under), Scott Smith (7 under), Michael Allen (7 under), Matthew Bettencourt (6 under), amateur Alberto Sanchez (6 under)
Notables who missed out: Dillon Dougherty (2 under), Bob May (even); amateurs Brian Campbell (3 under), Patrick Rodgers (3 under), Max Homa (3 under), J.J. Spaun (2 over), David Chung (3 over), Max Scodro (7 over)
How it happened: Fresh off a win at the Rex Hospital Open, Nationwide Tour player James Hahn, of San Bruno, Calif., shot 8-under 136 (66-70) to win the sectional at Daly City, Calif.
Hahn carded 10 birdies in the two rounds.
Beau Hossler, a 17-year-old high school junior from Mission Viejo, Calif., qualified for his second consecutive U.S. Open. Hossler, a Texas commit who is No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, shot 7-under 136 (66-70) in the qualifier to finish T-2 and secure a spot at Olympic. Last summer, Hossler reached the round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur and was the U.S. Junior Amateur stroke-play medalist and a match-play quarterfinalist.
Alex Cejka of Las Vegas, Nev., shot 7-under 137 (69-68) to tie with Hossler. Also coming in second were Scott Smith, of Fallon, Nev., who went 68-69, and 2009 Senior PGA champion Michael Allen, of Scottsdale, Ariz., who went 67-70.
Allen has been a member at Olympic Club (site of the 2012 U.S. Open) since he was 14 years old. His membership there ramped up his interest in golf.
Matthew Bettencourt of Duncan, S.C., shot 6-under 138 (69-69), tying for sixth with amateur Alberto Sanchez of Nogales, Ariz., who went 67-71.
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Woodmont CC (par 72), Rockville MD
Number of entrants: 78
Number of qualifying spots: 7
Qualifiers: Shane Bertsch (4 under), Michael Thompson (2 under), Paul Claxton (1 under), Cole Howard (1 under), Darron Stiles (1 under), Nicholas Thompson (1 under), Jeff Curl (1 under)
Notables who missed out: Fred Funk (1 over), Drew Weaver (WD)
How it happened: In windy conditions that gusted to 25 mph during the day, Shane Bertsch qualified for the U.S. Open for only the second time in his career. It will also be the second time the Denver native will make the trip to Olympic Club, where he played in his only U.S. Open in 1998.
For Bertsch, shooting a 3-under 69 in the morning session allowed him to be patient, a big key and kept him in the game when even par would be good enough.
“Played here in the past when you could make a lot of birdies,” Bertsch said of returning to Woodmont. “But not today as the wind was swirling in the morning and then changed direction in the afternoon.”
Bertsch missed the cut in 1998 when Lee Janzen won his second U.S. Open and hopes that he will fare better next week.
For Michael Thompson, he returns to Olympic Club with fond memories of staying with a family in the city of San Francisco, living on Lombard Street (the most crooked street in the world) and making it to the U.S. Amateur finals where he lost to Colt Knost 2 & 1.
After a poor morning 18, shooting a 2-over 74, Thompson grabbed a PB&J out of his bag and went to the range to get a little mad and beat the frustration out. Thirty balls later he was a new man and his 4-under 68 tied the lowest round of the afternoon with fellow qualifier Paul Claxton.
“This game is so easy to over analyze,” Thompson said of the morning issue. “I was just trying to be too perfect this morning and then this afternoon I just went out and played and hit shots.”
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The River Club (par 71), Suwanee, Ga.
Number of entrants: 53
Number of qualifying spots: 3
Qualifiers: Jason Bohn (7 under), Casey Wittenberg (6 under), Tim Weinhart (5 under)
Alternates: James Love (4 under), James White (1 under)
Notables who missed out: Bubba Dickerson (WD), Patrick Sheehan (6 over), Russell Henley (3 over)
How it happened: Jason Bohn led a trio of golfers who qualified for the U.S. Open Monday at the River Club.
Bohn led wire-to-wire, shooting 65-70 to finish with a 7-under 135.
Casey Wittenberg qualified for his fifth U.S. Open, finishing with a 6-under 136. Tim Weinhart was the final qualifier at 5 under.
Some notables who did not move on include Russell Henley, who tied with Scott Langley for low amateur honors at the 2010 U.S. Open, and Patrick Sheehan, who finished T-29 at the 2008 U.S. Open.
Bubba Dickerson, who won the 2001 U.S. Amateur, withdrew from the event, which was delayed early on due to inclement weather.
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Lakeside CC (par 72), Houston
Number of entrants: 56
Number of qualifying spots: 3
Who qualified: Bob Estes (6 under), Alistair Presnell (4 under), Brian Rowell (4 under)
Alternates: Jordan Spieth (4 under), Cory Whitsett (4 under)
Notables who missed out: Todd Hamilton (WD), Tom Kite (1 over), amateurs Dylan Fritelli (2 under) and Jordan Russell (3 over)
How it happened: PGA Tour player Bob Estes, of Austin, Texas, has made 14 U.S. Open appearances – his best finish was a tie for 11th in 2005 at Pinehurst No. 2. His 6-under 138 (65-73) earned him medalist honors at Houston’s 2012 sectional qualifying.
While Estes, who recently tied for fourth at the Texas Open, shot 1-over 73 on the second 18 holes, his first-round 7-under 65, which was the low-18 at qualifying, clinched his first-place finish.
Alistair Presnell, a Nationwide Tour player from Scottsdale, Ariz., shot 4-under 140 (71-69) to tie for second. Presnell’s first round included five birdies, but a double bogey on the par-4 16th hole cost him extra strokes.
Brian Rowell, of Lafayette, La., shot 4-under 140 (69-71) to tie for second with Presnell. His rounds included a total of eight birdies.
Amateurs Jordan Spieth (a freshman on the 2012 NCAA Championship-winning Texas squad) and Whitsett (a sophomore who plays for NCAA runner-up Alabama) each finished 4 under (140), and are alternates for the Open.
Tom Kite’s 1-over 145 (71-75) put him at a T-23 finish for the qualifier. The 1992 U.S. Open champion, Kite was the oldest player (age 62) in sectional qualifying. He has four top-10 U.S. Open appearances and won 19 times on the PGA Tour.
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Location: Village Links of Glen Ellyn (Ill.) (par 72)
Number of entrants: 48
Number of qualifying spots: 2
Qualifiers: Anthony Summers (11 under), Tim Herron (10 under)
Notables who missed out: Veteran touring pro Tom Pernice Jr. (5 under), recently crowned NCAA champion Thomas Pieters of Illinois (5 under), Illinois golf coach Mike Small (1 under)
How it happened: The magic number here was 42. Both Summers and Herron are 42 years old.
Playing in a U.S. Open is an old hat for Herron. He has played in nine previously, with a best finish of sixth in 1999. His grandfather and father also played in U.S. Opens, and that three-generation trick is thought to be unprecedented.
“That’s totally cool,” he said of the family affair.
This is new stuff for Summers, who plays on the Australian and OneAsia tours. The journeyman pro has never played in a PGA Tour event or a major championship. He called his successful attempt at qualifying here the highlight of his golf career. He said his previous high point was leading the 2008 Australian Open midway through the third round.
“It would have been nice if they stopped it then,” the affable Aussie said.
This is a far cry from last year for Summers. He missed a flight connection and didn’t make it to the 2011 sectional. Instead, he and some friends detoured for a fun trip to Las Vegas.
“I’ll be smiling all week,” he said here Monday.
Summers won medalist honors despite still suffering some from jet lag after a flight from Australia. In a casual round two days earlier in the Chicago area, he said he “didn’t know who I was or where I was.” And on Monday morning, his body clock still off, he woke up at 1:30 a.m.
Summers, runner-up at the 2011 New South Wales Open, has battled a degenerative neck disk off and on the past seven years and has held club pro positions and odd jobs. For two years in his early 30s he worked on stadium cleaning crews at Sydney cricket and football games. He said he cleaned toilets and even “some vomit” now and then but called it “one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. It was great.”
Summers cemented the top spot when he hit a 195-yard 4-iron to within 6 inches of the cup on the par-3 17th and Herron bogeyed Nos. 16-17.
“We had played 33 holes, I’m 42, I’m 50 pounds overweight and I got a little tired,” Herron playfully said of the late bogeys. He later added, “My perfect fighting weight is probably 35 pounds overweight.”
Herron, who wore shorts, changed putters in between rounds and said he ended up putting better than he had all year.
“It was nice to finally make some putts,” he said.
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Scioto CC (par 70), Ohio State’s Scarlet Course (par 71), Columbus, Ohio
Number of entrants: 132
Number of qualifying spots: 16
Qualifiers: Charlie Wi (9 under), Blake Adams (6 under), Kevin Streelman (4 under), Brian Harman (4 under), D.A. Points (3 under), David Mathis (2 under), Steve Marino (2 under), Davis Love (2 under), Jesse Mueller (1 under), Edward Loar (1 under), Steve Lebrun (1 under), Rod Pampling, (1 under), Martin Flores (1 under), Morgan Hoffman (even), Dennis Miller (even), Scott Piercy (even)
First alternate: Justin Hicks (even)
Notables who missed out: Jimmy Walker (1 over), James Driscoll (1 over), Brandt Jobe (1 over), Colt Knost (1 over), Jhonattan Vegas (2 over), Ben Curtis (2 over), Cameron Tringale (3 over), Harrison Frazar (3 over), J.R. Holmes (3 over), Jeff Overton (3 over), Nick O’Hern (3 over), Johnson Wagner (4 over), Ryuji Imada (4 over), Vaughn Taylor (4 over), Tommy Gainey (4 over), Harris English (5 over), Robert Allenby (5 over), Spencer Levin (5 over), Rory Sabbatini (5 over), Bud Cauley (6 over), Chris DiMarco (7 over), Bryce Molder (9 over), Tim Mickelson-a (11 over), Brendan Steele (11 over)
How it happened: As often is the case, it’s who falls short that is more intriguing than who makes it in. At this site, that honor goes to Spencer Levin. A day earlier, he needed to finish solo third or better at the Memorial Tournament and he would have been exempt into what passes as a hometown U.S. Open.
Not only did he not win a tournament he had led for a good time, Levin faded into a share of fourth. Without his exemption, he also squandered his qualifying bid.
So here’s the fickleness of golf: One day after battling Tiger Woods, Levin was tied with someone named Alfredo Adrian, but at 5over 146 neither will be advancing to the national open.
And equally surprising was Rory Sabbatini, who held the lead standing on the 15th tee one day earlier at the Memorial. Having finished well enough to finish joint second, Sabbatini figured to be a good bet to make it through here, but he backed up a 70 at the Scarlet Course with a 76 at Scioto and will miss the U.S. Open for the first time since 2002.
Despite Levin and Sabbatini falling short, PGA Tour names dominated the deepest of the 11 sectionals, with only Steve LeBrun (Nationwide), Jesse Mueller (minitour), and Morgan Hoffmann (eGolf) not having PGA Tour status this year.
Of those advancing the most notable name belongs to Love. He’ll play in his 23rd U.S., backing up a 71 at the Scarlet Course with a 68 at Scioto. But it’s another Sea Island guy, Brian Harman, who is certainly happy about a trip to The Olympic Club. That’s because in 2004 Harman was medalist by eight strokes in the U.S. Junior Amateur.
No surprise that Blake Adams made it through, given that he’s been playing rock-solid – at least for the first two rounds, which is all he had to do in Columbus.
Kevin Streelman and D.A. Points nailed down their spots with contrasting efforts in afternoon rounds on the Scarlet Course. Streelman blitzed the front side in 30, while Points methodically piled up 17 pars and a lone bogey on the Scarlet Course.
Though he just returned to action at the Memorial after being sidelined for nearly three months, Steve Marino apparently knocked enough rust off to shoot 69-70 and earn a spot at The Olympic Club.
Feel-good stories have to go to David Mathis and Edward Loar. At 38 and 34, respectively, their perseverance has paid off with their first tickets to a major championship.
In a four-for-three playoff, Morgan Hoffman advanced first, joined later by Dennis Miller and Scott Piercy. Justin Hicks was the odd man out and relegated to first alternate.
Of the misses, Allenby is notable because it will be the first U.S. Open he’ll miss since 2000.
Brandt Jobe and Jimmy Walker each bogeyed his 18th hole to miss a playoff by one, while Aaron Goldberg experienced true heartache, bogeys at his 16th and 18th holes costing him dearly. He missed a playoff by one.
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Location: Springfield (Ohio) CC (par 70)
Number of entrants: 44
Number of qualifying spots: 2
Who qualified: Brice Garnett (9 under), John Peterson (8 under)
Notables who missed out: Seung-Yul Noh (3 under), Thomas Muto (4 over), Lee Rinker (even par)
How it happened: Brice Garnett, a Nationwide Tour player from Gallatin, Mo., finished 9-under 131 (66-65). He was the second going into the second 18 holes, but carded five birdies and played no holes higher than par on the second 18.
John Peterson, of Fort Worth, Texas, will be making his U.S. Open debut. The 2011 NCAA Division I medalist and a three-time All-American at LSU, finished at 8 under, and had the lead after the first 18 holes.
In the second round, a double bogey on the par-4 second hole coupled with a bogey on the par-3 16th hole cost him his lead, but his first round, which he played at 6 under, plus five birdies in the second round allowed him to clinch a U.S. Open spot.
Seung-Yul Noh came in at 3-under 137, which put in him at T-4. Both of his rounds of 18 included a total of nine birdies, but were offset with four bogeys.
Noh, who has had four top-20 performances on the PGA Tour this season, including a T-9 at the Wells Fargo Championship, was the second-youngest winner ever on the European Tour in 2010. Noh competed in the 2010 and ’11 U.S. Opens, but his 3-under 137 (68-69) at the Springfield qualifier wasn’t enough to garner him a spot in the 2012 Open.
Gateway Tour player Thomas Muto, who shared medalist honors in the largest U.S. Open local qualifier field (Maketewah CC in Cincinnati), shot 4-over 148 (74-74).
Lee Rinker, a 51-year-old professional who has made five U.S. Open appearances, shot even-par 140 (69-71).
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Canoe Brook CC (par 72), Summit, N.J.
Number of entrants: 74
Number of qualifying spots: 4
Who qualified: Cameron Wilson (6 under), Jim Herman (5 under), Brian Gaffney (4 under), Mark McCormick (4 under)
Notables who missed out: Marc Turnesa, Luke List, Daniel Chopra, Andrew Svoboda
How it happened: Cameron Wilson shot a final-round, 7-under 65 to take medalist honors and qualify for his first U.S. Open.
Wilson rebounded on the North Course after a first-round 71 on the South Course. He birdied six holes on the front nine and finished with nine for the round. Add that to his first-round total and he had 13 in 36 holes.
Also qualifying was Mark McCormick, whose son, Ryan, a sophomore at St. John’s, was also competing but didn’t qualify. McCormick, who made nine birdies in two rounds, shot 4 under along with Brian Gaffney.
Jim Herman made the cut as well, shooting 5 under and recording just one bogey in two rounds.
Among those failing to make it to the Olympic Club were Luke List, who currently leads the Nationwide Tour money list, Marc Turnesa, who qualified last year, and Bill Britton, the second-oldest player (56) competing in sectionals who last played in the U.S. Open in 1989.
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Black Diamond Ranch (par 72), Lecanto, Fla.
Number of entrants: 58
Number of qualifying spots: 3
Who qualified: Scott Langley (5 under), Sam Osborne (3 under), Brooks Koepka (2 under; won playoff with Andy Zhang)
Number of alternates: 2
Alternates: Andy Zhang, Sam Ryder (playoff win over Brett Stegmeier)
How it happened: 2010 U.S. Open low amateur Scott Langley – he finished T-16 at Pebble Beach – will be making a return visit to American’s national championship, overcoming a 1-over 73 with a blistering 6-under 66 on his final 18 holes at Black Diamond Ranch to take medalist honors at the Lecanto sectional.
“I hadn’t played the course until today,” said Langley, a former Illinois star who played on the 2010 Palmer Cup and World Amateur teams. “Took me awhile to get used to the greens. This definitely played like a U.S. Open qualifier. That is a tough golf course, and the greens are tough. With my second 18, I sort of knew where I needed to hit it.”
Meanwhile, the final two players who will advance to Olympic Club came from the same group, with Englishman Sam Osborne using three birdies over his final five holes to take second, while Brooks Koepka advanced after a birdie at the par-5 18th in a one-hole playoff with a 14-year-old Andy Zhang from China.
“Had I played with two guys that shot 80, I don’t know what would have happened,” said Osborne, who spent time on the European Challenge Tour and now plays on mini-tours in the U.S. “Brooks turned in (4-under) 32 and that really got me going. I knew I needed to get some birdies and did it at 14-15-16.”
For Florida State star Koepka, it was redemption for two reasons: He made up for a bogey on No. 18 in regulation to cause him to slip back to 2 under, while also softening the blow from a one-hole, team-aggregate playoff loss at the NCAA Championship against Kent State.
“I never thought about it like that,” said Koepka. “One playoff loss, and not the way you want to go out as a senior. Now, a playoff win to get me back out to California. It is pretty sweet.”
Zhang would have been the youngest qualifier for the U.S. Open in its history, but must settle for first-alternate status.
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Walton Heath GC, Surrey, England
Alexander Noren and Marc Warren led a contingent of 11 players that qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open on Monday at the par-72 Walton Heath Golf Course.
“I went through this qualifying last year. It proved a turnaround in my season because I have always wanted to play a U.S. Open,” Noren said. “I played Congressional last year where Rory (McIlroy) won and played all four rounds, so I was really pleased. It’s just great to be going back again.”
Warren fired the round of the day, carding a 65 in the afternoon, overcoming a 70 that left him on the outside looking in after the morning.
“I couldn’t be more happy and really looking forward to the championship,” he said.
Teenage sensation Matteo Manassero fired back-to-back 69s to get into a playoff with five others for the final spot. He would advance along with Matthew Baldwin, Peter Lawrie and Raphael Jacquelin, leaving Sihwan Kim of Korea as the first alternate.
George Coetzee led a five-way tie for third place at 7 under, with Lee Slattery, Gregory Bourdy, Mikko Ilonen and Soren Kjeldsen also moving on to Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Among the notables that won’t be making the trip to the Sunshine State: Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal, Ross Fisher, Jbe Kruger, Tom Lewis and Edoardo Molinari (who withdrew after an opening 7-over 79).
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Lake Hamamatsu CC, Shizouka, Japan
Brendan Jones will be making a return trip to the U.S. Open.
The 37-year-old Australian shot rounds of 66 and 68, finishing at 10 under to claim the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying Tournament on May 20 at Lake Hamamatsu CC in Shizuoka, Japan.
Jones’ first U.S. Open appearance came in 2004 at Shinnecock Hills CC in Southampton, N.Y., where he missed the cut.
Toru Taniguchi of Japan placed second at 7 under to join Jones in qualifying for the June 14-17 tournament at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
J.B. Park and Dong-Hwan Lee of Korea, and Japan’s Hiroyuki Fujita and Tadahiro Takayama also advanced out of the 40-man field.
Wen-Chong Lian of the People’s Republic of China will be the first alternate.
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