Here is a recap of the U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Summit, N.J. For complete coverage of all U.S. Open sectionals, click here.
SUMMIT, N.J. – Cameron Wilson of Rowayton, Conn., and Scotland’s Calum Hill finished at 7 under and were the co-medalists at the U.S. Open sectional qualifier Monday at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J.
They will compete next week at Shinnecock Hills, along with Stewart Hagestad and Mike Miller, who each finished at 6 under, and Theo Humphrey, who defeated Mark Hoffman in a playoff to earn the last qualifying spot.
Wilson, 25, a former All-American at Stanford who won the 2014 NCAA individual title, shot 69 in the morning on the North Course and 66 on the South after lunch. It was the sixth time Wilson had played a sectional qualifier. He made it through and played in the 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club, where he played a practice round with Tiger Woods on Tuesday and then played with Oregon head coach and former Stanford player Casey Martin in the first two rounds of the tournament.
“I’m proud of the way I played today,” Wilson said, waiting for the final groups to finish their afternoon round. “I have not played a lot lately, so to play as well as I have and put up the scores that I put up today, on not-so-push-over golf courses against a competitive field. … I’m pretty proud of that.”
While Wilson is a veteran of this venue and process, Hill is a newcomer. The Scot played four years of college golf at Division II Western New Mexico University in Silver City, N.M., and was the assistant coach of the men’s golf team for the last two seasons. In his only other attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open, he made double bogey on the final hole of local qualifying to miss advancing to the sectional stage by two shots.
“I think I got a good tee time, honestly,” Hill said. “Being the last out this morning and starting on the South Course was nice. Mud balls made it hard. There weren’t too many of them, but on occasion, there was mud on the ball. I also had a little trouble with the speed of the greens on the South, so I kept smashing them by. I also missed a few short birdie putts.”
Hill birdied the first hole on the North Course in the afternoon, then recovered from a three-putt bogey on the second hole with birdies on Nos. 4-6. On the final hole, a 600-yard par-5, he made a 25-foot birdie putt to tie Wilson at 7 under.
Hagestad, who won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur and competed in the 2017 Masters, U.S. Open and Walker Cup, started slowly on the North Course in chilly, wet conditions, making the turn in 2 over. But five birdies on his second nine of the morning left him at 2 under. Hagestad then made 11 pars to start his second round before carding four birdies over his final eight holes to surge to 6 under.
“I remember last year, getting ready for the Masters and being like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m playing in the Masters in a week,’ It’s insane, like it wasn’t real, but after that experience, getting ready for the U.S. Open was a little easier,” Hagestad said. “This time around, going through the local qualifying process and going through sectionals it was a little easier because I knew what to expect and what your body is going to feel like.”
Miller, from Brewster, N.Y., shot 66 on the South Course and 70 in the afternoon on the North to also qualify at 6 under. Miller played in the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 2016 after qualifying at Canoe Brook. Regardless of how he fares at Shinnecock, Miller sees qualifying for another U.S. Open as a positive sign that his game is improving and maturing.
“I had a good buddy of mine caddie for me at Oakmont, and he put my bag down next to Rory’s on Thursday,” Miller said, laughing. “I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ But it’s stuff like that you hope you get to do again, but also knowing that you can compete out there.”
Humphrey, from Greenwich, Conn., was a first-team All-American at Vanderbilt last season and the SEC Player of the Year. In 2017, he was a semifinalist at the U.S. Amateur, and he is currently ranked No. 12 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He shot 65 on the South Course and 72 on the North.
“It was tricky out here, judging where the wind is coming from,” Humphrey said. “It was swirling a little bit, and I’m spoiled from having compasses in my yardage books every single week and not having that here made it harder to commit to shots.”