2014 U.S. Open Sectionals Preview: Houston

Former Alabama All-American Cory Whitsett will attempt to qualify for the 2014 U.S. Open in Houston.
Former Alabama All-American Cory Whitsett will attempt to qualify for the 2014 U.S. Open in Houston. ( Tracy Wilcox )

Sunday, June 1, 2014

On Monday, the U.S. Open will kick into high gear with sectional qualifying at 10 different U.S. sites. There are 56 spots available at the 10 sites.

Here is a closer look at the only Texas site:

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Lakeside Country Club

Location: Houston

Number of players: 56

Spots available: 3

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Players to watch

Jacob Bergeron, 16, of Slidell, La., advanced out of U.S. Open local qualifying by making a par on the second playoff hole. Bergeron, a freshman at Slidell High School, made an eagle and a double eagle in the same round two years ago at Santa Maria Golf Course in Baton Rouge, La. He carded a double eagle at the 18th hole with a driver and pitching wedge.

Thomas Birdsey, of Trophy Club, Texas, shared medalist honors with a 66 in U.S. Open local qualifying. He is a senior on the Wake Forest University golf team and won the 2012 Texas state amateur. His father, Don, had a 40.4-yard career average as a punter for Kansas State University from 1977-80.

Zack Fischer, 24, of Texarkana, Texas, was one of 20 players to advance through both local and sectional qualifying last year and played in his first U.S. Open. He was involved in a 12-hole playoff that stretched over two days at the Dallas sectional. Fischer clinched his spot with an 8-foot birdie putt, outlasting PGA Tour player Ryan Palmer.

Zach Fullerton, 27, of Gallup, N.M., was an accomplished scholastic player, but dropped out of high school as a senior. He found work as an electrician, and eventually went to junior college and New Mexico State University. Fullerton now plays on the Web.com Tour.

Todd Hamilton, 48, won the 2004 British Open by defeating Ernie Els in a four-hole aggregate playoff. He has competed in eight U.S. Opens, tying for 36th in 2008 and 2009.

Kelly Kraft, of Dallas, Texas, is attempting to qualify for his first U.S. Open after shooting a 64 in local qualifying to earn medalist honors. Kraft won the 2011 U.S. Amateur by defeating Patrick Cantlay, 2 up, in the final at Erin Hills (Wis.). He was a member of the 2011 USA Walker Cup Team.

Will Kropp, of Edmond, Okla., earned honorable mention All-America recognition as a member of the University of Oklahoma golf team and now plays on PGA Tour Latinoamerica. His father, Brad, is a urologist who will attempt to qualify for this year’s U.S. Senior Open at Oak Tree National.

Brandon Smith, 17, of Frisco, Texas, tied for 11th in the 2014 Class 4A state championship. His father, Bruce, is a teaching professional at Black Belt Golf Academy who has played in two PGA Championships (2004, 2010).

Scott Verplank, 49, has competed in 18 U.S. Opens, with his best finish a tie for seventh in 2007. The five-time PGA Tour winner is a diabetic who plays with an insulin pump. Verplank will compete in this year’s U.S. Senior Open after he turns 50 on July 9, and it will be a return to Oak Tree National in Edmond, Okla., where he won the 1984 U.S. Amateur.

Duffy Waldorf, 51, has played in 13 U.S. Opens but has not competed since 2006. Waldorf, who owns four PGA Tour wins, tied for ninth in last year’s U.S. Senior Open at Omaha (Neb.) Country Club.

Cory Whitsett, of Houston, Texas, was a member of the winning 2013 USA Walker Cup Team. A senior at the University at Alabama, Whitsett was named first-team All-American and the 2013 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Player of the Year. He won the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur at age 15.

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Tee times

7:19 a.m.: Doug Albers, Tee: 10

7:19 a.m.: Todd Hamilton, Tee: 10

7:19 a.m.: Brent Marshall, Tee: 10

7:20 a.m.: Duffy Waldorf, Tee: 1

7:20 a.m.: Andrew Lister, Tee: 1

7:30 a.m.: Franklin Walley, Tee: 1

7:30 a.m.: William Kropp, Tee: 1

7:30 a.m.: Kevin Dougherty, Tee: 1

7:30 a.m.: Eli Cole, Tee: 10

7:30 a.m.: Lee Rhind, Tee: 10

7:30 a.m.: Michael Smith, Tee: 10

7:40 a.m.: Zach Fullerton, Tee: 1

7:40 a.m.: Cory Whitsett, Tee: 1

7:40 a.m.: Bobby Gates, Tee: 1

7:41 a.m.: Bill Allcorn, Tee: 10

7:41 a.m.: Kolton Crawford, Tee: 10

7:41 a.m.: Matt Weibring, Tee: 10

7:50 a.m.: Brian Rowell, Tee: 1

7:50 a.m.: Nathan Anderson, Tee: 1

7:50 a.m.: Christopher James, Tee: 1

7:52 a.m.: Michael Elafros, Tee: 10

7:52 a.m.: Santiago Mejia, Tee: 10

7:52 a.m.: Eric Ricard, Tee: 10

8:00 a.m.: Roman Robledo, Tee: 1

8:00 a.m.: Tyler Dunlap, Tee: 1

8:00 a.m.: Ryan Baca, Tee: 1

8:03 a.m.: Andrew Wyatt, Tee: 10

8:03 a.m.: Tom Moore, Tee: 10

8:03 a.m.: Brandon Smith, Tee: 10

8:10 a.m.: Thomas Birdsey, Tee: 1

8:10 a.m.: Kramer Hickok, Tee: 1

8:10 a.m.: Kris Blanks, Tee: 1

8:14 a.m.: A. J. Morris, Tee: 10

8:14 a.m.: Jacob Bergeron, Tee: 10

8:14 a.m.: Roland Thatcher, Tee: 10

8:20 a.m.: John Kimbell, Tee: 1

8:20 a.m.: Blake D. Trimble, Tee: 1

8:20 a.m.: Kyle Jones, Tee: 1

8:25 a.m.: Brent Baylon, Tee: 10

8:25 a.m.: Anthony Broussard, Tee: 10

8:25 a.m.: Zack Fischer, Tee: 10

8:30 a.m.: Justin Engel, Tee: 1

8:30 a.m.: Justin Knauber, Tee: 1

8:30 a.m.: Sam Fidone, Tee: 1

8:36 a.m.: Brian Norman, Tee: 10

8:36 a.m.: Bronson Burgoon, Tee: 10

8:36 a.m.: Chris Thorn, Tee: 10

8:40 a.m.: Scott Fernandez, Tee: 1

8:40 a.m.: Kelly Kraft, Tee: 1

8:40 a.m.: Jose Narro, Tee: 1

8:47 a.m.: Scott Verplank, Tee: 10

8:47 a.m.: Mark Victorian Jr, Tee: 10

8:47 a.m.: Michael Parker, Tee: 10

8:50 a.m.: Nathan Camacho, Tee: 1

8:50 a.m.: Blake Redmond, Tee: 1

8:50 a.m.: Dylan Frittelli, Tee: 1

• • •

Complete coverage: Sectional previews

Daly City, Calif. Sectional: Lake Merced Golf Club & The Olympic Club (Ocean Course)

Vero Beach, Fla. Sectional: Quail Valley Golf Club

Roswell, Ga. Sectional: Ansley Golf Club (Settindown Creek Course)

Rockville, Md. Sectional: Woodmont Country Club (North Course)

Purchase, N.Y. Sectional: Old Oaks Country Club & Century Country Club

Columbus, Ohio Sectional: Brookside Golf & Country Club & Scioto Country Club

Springfield, Ohio Sectional: Springfield Country Club

Creswell, Ore. Sectional: Emerald Valley Golf Club

Memphis Sectional: Colonial Country Club (North & South courses)

Houston Sectional: Lakeside Country Club

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