One of my favorite times of year has begun...the journey to the US Open. Now that Q-school has disappeared, the US Open Qualifying process is now the place for dreamers to bring their best in the hopes that they may be one of 156 golfers to see it up at Erin Hills this year.
This journey won't be easy, though. According to the United States Golf Association (USGA), 9,485 golfers applied to compete - some may be exempted into the sectional qualifiers, but most will start at one of the 114 local qualifers (18 holes only!) for their shot at one of the 12 sectional events, 10 of which are being held on June 5 throughout the US.
The current statistics are these according to the USGA web site - there are 8,979 players competing for 525 spots. That means less than 6% of the players competing will move on. That means, with a average field of 78 players, only 4 or 5 will move on.
And if you're lucky enough got move on from there, you're up against the automatic sectional qualifiers plus the best from all the local qualifiers (looking to be about 980 golfers) playing for the remainder of the 156 spots after all the exemptions have been filled. Right now the exemptions are at 51, but there are 2 more potential tournament winners in addition to anyone making it into the top 60 in world golf ranking points at 2 more dates before the open. So those 980 players may be looking at between 85 - 100 spots. So of the top 5% or so from the local qualifiers, only around 10% of those will make to Wisconsin and Erin Hills.
Since my heart is in Minnesota, I had to go out looking for the fields in the 2 US Open Qualifiers being held in the state. Unfortunately, they don't have the hometowns of the players listed so it's hard to figure out who to check on without doing searches for each name. But the top of list on the May 8 Qualifier at Midland Hills was familiar to me - Donald Constable - Constable made it to the PGA tour back in the Q-school days so I'll for sure be rooting for him! Minnesotan (now a resident of Georgia) Clayton Rask also has an entry, although I'm not sure where he is playing yet.
And then as I was scrolling through, not really recognizing any names from prior years, another name popped up - Dominic Rosati - Dominic has played at our local men's tournament for several years, but now must be in college and he's putting his hat (and $200) in the ring for a chance to advance. That is awesome!!!
I'm going to have to do more research to find out who the Minnesota players to watch are, but I'm sure there will be no shortage of action since there are 25 qualifiers on Monday.
Here is where you can find the list of local qualifiers: http://www.usopen.com/qualifying/local.html and you can click on the course to find the current tee times & field.
I'm already looking forward to the stories...the dreamers who will advance to the sectionals and be one step closer to the US Open Championship. I'm off to do more research and get ready to root for Minnesotans!!
I love golf and I love to write, so I can't think of anything better than having a happy place like this to write about golf to my heart's content. Thanks for joining me!