5 Things, Rockville: Sullivan soars; Janzen DQ'd
The U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., ended, not surprisingly, with a playoff for the eighth and final spot in the national championship. PGA Tour player Matt Bettencourt, East Carolina alum Harold Varner III and Sam Saunders of Ft. Collins, Colo., tied for that final spot, but only Bettencourt advanced from the three-for-one playoff.
Here are 5 Things to Know about the rest of the field:
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1. TIED AT THE TOP: A diverse trio of players tied for medalist honors in Maryland. Russell Knox, Randall Hutchison and Adam Hadwin had identical splits of 65-67 for 9-under totals of 132.
Knox, a Scotsman, has played five events on the PGA Tour this season, making the cut in three of them. He has two NGA Tour victories and won the 2011 Chiquita Classic on the Web.com Tour.
Canadian Hadwin entered sectional qualifying after a T-47 finish at last week’s Mid-Atlantic Championship on the Web.com Tour. Hutchison of Traverse City, Mich., is a former Michigan State golfer who has played 10 events on the Web.com Tour this year.
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2. SOME OPENER: Ryan Sullivan of Winston Salem, N.C., went berserk on the back side of Woodmont’s South Course. After going 1 over in his first eight holes, Sullivan started a stretch of seven birdies in nine holes at the par-4 ninth. He capped the round with an eagle at the par-5 18th, good enough for 61.
Sullivan, who attended North Carolina-Wilmington and turned pro in 2012, came back with a 1-over 73 in the afternoon round, which helped him easily advance at 7-under 134. All told, Sullivan had 11 birdies and two eagles on the day. So far this season, Sullivan has played in two Web.com Tour events, but missed the cut in both, including last weekend’s Mid-Atlantic Championship.
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3. A JOURNEYMAN IN: Cliff Kresge, who has played on the PGA and Web.com tours since 1997, qualified for the U.S. Open courtesy of a T-5 finish in Maryland. Kresge shot rounds of 66-69 for a 6-under 135 total.
Kresge was named Golfweek’s Father of the Year in 2011 for his work in raising awareness and funding for autism, something close to his heart. Kresge’s son, Mason, was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old.
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4. SPIKED OUT: Lee Janzen, a two-time U.S. Open champion, made early headlines on Monday when he was disqualified for wearing metal spikes in the sectional qualifier.
All but three sectional qualifying sites – those in Springfield, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio and Memphis, Tenn. – banned metal spikes. Janzen shot 75 on the North Course in the morning, and after the DQ he posted via Twitter, “Yes. DQ for metal spikes at qualifier at Woodmont. Rule was in e-mail. More concerned about my game. 75 1st round put me way back anyway.”
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5. ON THE OUTSIDE: There were 122 players playing for the eight spots out of the Maryland qualifier.
Among the notables who failed to advance: Fred Funk, eight-time PGA Tour winner; Hunter Haas, the 1999 U.S. Public Links champion and a four-time Web.com Tour winner; Bronson La’cassie, the 2006 Western Amateur winner; Brinson Paolini, the 2013 Byron Nelson Award winner and Varner, who won the 2007 Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach with partner Morris Hatalsky.