Former Illini Luke Guthrie and Scott Langley earned their way into the 2013 U.S. Open through sectional qualifiers on Monday.
June 3, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Former University of Illinois golfers Luke Guthrie and Scott Langley qualified for the 2013 U.S. Open through sectional qualifiers in Columbus, Ohio, and Memphis, Tenn., respectively. Guthrie birdied the third playoff hole - his 39th of the day - to earn one spot out of a four-man playoff at Brookside Golf & Country Club and The Lakes Golf & Country Club, playing one round at each course.
The U.S. Open will be held at Merion Country Club in Ardmore, Pa., June 10-16. It will be the first major tournament for Guthrie, who also qualified for the 2013 British Open at Muirfield on July 18-21. This year will be Langley's third U.S. Open, as he played in the 2012 and 2010 events. He finished +9, tied for 29th in 2012 and T-16th at +8 in 2010, tying for low amateur honors just 17 days after winning the 2010 NCAA individual title.
Guthrie was 8-under-par for 36 holes, tied for ninth with 10 other golfers for ninth place at a site that had 15 qualifying spots. The playoff began as an 11-man playoff for seven spots before being whittled down to four players for one. Guthrie's birdie narrowly beat darkness, which would have postponed the finish until Tuesday. Langley, who also aced the par-3 8th hole in his second round at Colonial Country Club, finished 5-under-par to tie for sixth at a site that had nine qualifying spots. That hole-in-one proved to be the difference in his qualification, as he was one shot above a three-man playoff for his qualifier's final spot.
The pair join fellow Illini Steve Stricker and D.A. Points in the U.S. Open field, as Stricker earned an exemption into the tournament by qualifying for the season-ending 2012 Tour Championship. Points earned his spot by being among the top 60 players in the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 27.
Also playing in sectional qualifiers but not reaching the U.S. Open were Fighting Illini head coach Mike Small, junior-to-be Alex Burge and former Illini Thomas Pieters, Joe Affrunti, Zach Barlow, Mason Jacobs and Jon Krick. Barlow and Krick tied for 11th at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis at 7-over-par. Also at Old Warson, which had two qualifying spots for its 42-player field, Burge tied for 15th at +8 and Small withdrew after playing 22 holes because of fatigue. He coached the Illini through 108 holes over the previous week at the NCAA Championships.
Also playing in Columbus, Ohio, along with Guthrie, Jacobs finished tied for 90th at +6. That qualifier had 15 spots for 120 players, many of whom are current or former PGA Tour members.
Pieters played at Springfield (OH) Country Club, where there were 39 players for two spots. He carded an even-par 70 in his second round but a 3-over-par 73 in the morning left him tied for 17th at +3. He was the third-highest amateur in the field.
Affrunti played at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., where he tied for 56th with a +2. There were 122 players for eight spots in Rockville.