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Five Advance to Second Stage of U.S. Open Qualifying
It rained and it poured as Utah golfers did their best to keep their composure and score at Oakridge Country Club in the local qualifying tournament for this year’s U.S. Open Championship.
United States Golf Association’s local representative Keith Hansen predicted that the low score would be 70. Zach Johnson and Joseph Summerhays proved him right. Both pros turned in a 1-under, 70 to tie for Medalist honors. Zac Blair (amateur), Luke Swilor and Charlie Beljan (of Arizona) also qualified with even par rounds of 71.
The first hole at Oakridge normally plays to a par 5 but was changed to a par 4 for the tournament. Some players, including Johnson and Swilor, didn’t realize the change was made until after recording their score for the hole.
Hansen met with Oakridge Superintendent Jason Moon a few days before the tournament and reviewed the set up for the qualifier and was concerned about keeping the greens rolling at about 11. The rain-soaked and cold conditions Monday easily took care of those concerns but did cause a few anxious moments of having to squeegee a green during play.
Overall the weather caused more problems for players’ patience and volunteers warmth than it did for the golf course. Moon and his crew were up early, cutting holes and double-cutting greens and afterwards were very pleased with the course’s condition throughout play.
Alternate qualifiers are Theodore Alexander (72) and Dusty Fielding, who beat Matt Baird in a one-hole playoff with a birdie on the first hole. Fielding and Baird both shot 73 to tie for 6th place.
Johnson’s round got off to a roller coaster start with four bogies on the opening nine. A birdie and an eagle kept him at just 1-over going into the back nine. The eagle came on the third hole which was playing 278 yards to the flag. Johnson drove the green with a 3-wood and had just a two-foot putt for the eagle two.
Utah Qualifiers for the 111th U. S. Open Championship
T1 Zach Johnson 36-34 – 70
T1 Joe Summerhays 35-35- 70
T3 Zac Blair (a) 36-35 – 71
T3 Charlie Beljan 37-34 – 71
T3 Luke Swilor 39-32 – 71
Alexander Theodore (72)
Dusty Fielding (73)* won playoff