U.S. Open sectionals: 35-year-old posts incredible finish for last spot in Texas

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U.S. Open sectionals: 35-year-old posts incredible finish for last spot in Texas

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U.S. Open sectionals: 35-year-old posts incredible finish for last spot in Texas

Here is a recap of the U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Richmond, Texas. For complete coverage of all U.S. Open sectionals, click here.

Richmond, Texas

Shadow Hawk GC, Par 72

Three spots available

Scores

MEDALIST(S): It took 11 under to medal in this site of few spots, but teammates Philip Barbaree and Jacob Bergeron got it done.

Barbaree returned an afternoon 7-under 65 for his score, while Bergeron blitzed out in the morning in 8-under 64 to get out ahead. It’s a Tigers party in Texas, as both are members of LSU’s men’s golf team. And each has a resume of renown.

Barbaree, of Shreveport, La., was once one of the top junior players in the country and won the 2015 U.S. Junior Amateur. The incoming LSU junior hasn’t fully translated that talent to college golf yet, as he finished his sophomore campaign ranked 93rd. But he’s still proven to be a very solid player, and this U.S. Open berth reminds everyone of that.

Bergeron, of Slidell, La., was also an elite junior player (although not quite to Barbaree’s level). He will be a sophomore at LSU and his freshman season ended with a No. 119 ranking.

Before the pair reunites as Tigers this fall, though, they’ll be heading to the U.S. Open together.

ALSO QUALIFYING: There were only three spots out of this site, so one remained after the co-medalists. It went to Chris Naegel, a 35-year-old of Wildwood, Mo., and oh man did he come up clutch to punch his ticket.

Blaine Hale, an incoming senior at Oklahoma, had fired an afternoon 65 to get in at 10 under and seemingly secure the third and final spot. Naegel didn’t appear to have much of a chance as he sat at 6 under on the 14th tee.

But then came fireworks. Naegel gave himself a fighting chance with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 14-15 and then seemed to squander it with a bogey at the 16th that dropped him to 7 under.

How did he respond to the devastating square? Naegel birdied the 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th (apparently after driving into a fairway bunker as well) to get in at 10 under – matching Hale’s afternoon 65 to do it – and force a playoff with Hale. Naegel won the playoff to swipe away that final spot.

Naegel, who mainly played his college golf at Missouri Baptist, has spent a good portion of his career on mini-tours. He played on the Hooters Tour for years (from 2008-12 range) and has also dabbled in the eGolf Tour, Adams Tour and the Minor League Golf Tour. He didn’t pick up his first professional victory until the eGolf Tour’s Oldfield Open in 2012. Naegel earned another won at the Adams Tour’s Buffalo Run Casino Classic in 2015.

He took a number of stabs at Q-School, and earned a 20-event slate on the Web.com Tour in 2016. He posted just one top 10 and finished 89th on the money list, and his 21-event 2017 was even worse as he placed 117th on the money list.

Naegel tied for 57th at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School and has limited status this season. In four 2018 Web starts, he’s had a tie for seventh, a T-43 and missed two cuts. This will be Naegel’s fourth career PGA Tour start and his first ever major.

What a way to make it here.

ALTERNATES: Hale suffers in a heartbreaker, but he does grab the first alternate spot. Dillon Rust is second alternate after finishing at 9 under.

MISSED OUT: Matthew Wolff, coming off a star freshman season at Oklahoma State as well as a national championship, posts an afternoon 67. But his morning 71 put him too far behind and he misses out at 6 under. … Cameron Champ, the Texas A&M player who turned pro early in the 2017-18 season, posts at 5 under. Champ was a star at Erin Hills, as the then-amateur was in contention through 36 holes and eventually finished T-32. This time, he won’t be at the U.S. Open. … Angel Cabrera is among the nine players who withdrew. The Argentine is the 2007 U.S. Open champion.

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