2004: Four amateurs survive cut, Shinnecock

Four amateurs made the cut at Shinnecock Hills, the most since four made it in 1996.

Spencer Levin captured low amateur honors shooting 69-73-71-75 for an 8-over-par 288 total to tie for 13th, good for an exemption into the 2005 U.S. Open. The University of New Mexico junior made noise in the first round when he canned an ace, his first, on the 17th hole after a mid-afternoon weather delay.

“This is great,” Levin said. “One of my best tournaments. Probably the most fun I’ve had playing golf.”

Levin’s finish was the highest by an amateur since Jim Simons tied for fifth in 1971. In 1996, amateurs Randy Leen, Trip Kuehne, Tiger Woods and Steve Scott made the weekend at Oakland Hills.

Casey Wittenberg, the low amateur at the Masters, was tied with Levin after two rounds but 75-79 on the weekend dropped him into a tie for 36th.

“You can’t pay for the lesson that I got taught today (Sunday),” Wittenberg said. “You can’t make this kind of experience happen anywhere else.”

There was speculation that Wittenberg, who just completed his freshman season at Oklahoma State, would seek sponsor exemptions on the PGA Tour and turn professional but he said he plans to return to Stillwater, Okla., for at least another year.

Bill Haas and Chez Reavie turned professional following the U.S. Open. Haas, son of Tour veteran Jay Haas, was in position for a high finish but a final-round 81 derailed any hopes of that. Haas tied for 40th at 297. Reavie shot 73-72-71-88 to tie for 62nd.

By making the cut, all four are exempt into the second stage of PGA Tour Q-School if they choose to accept.

– Jay A. Coffin

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