U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying
Lake Merced GC & TPC Harding Park
June 4, 2012
June 4, 2012
DALY CITY, Calif. – Seven players of the 130 that participated in U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying on Monday punched their ticket to the Olympic Club posting 36-hole scores of six-under par or better: James Hahn, Alex Cejka, Beau Hossler, Scott Smith, Michael Allen, Matt Bettencourt and Alberto Sanchez. The scoring worked out perfectly to determine spots as no players had to see their hearts broken in a sudden-death playoff.
Hahn, a 30 year-old professional from San Bruno, Calif. earned medalist honors after firing a two-round total of 136, eight-under par. Hahn, who had a share of the 18-hole lead after a six-under 66 at Lake Merced GC, followed that with a two-under 70 at TPC Harding Park.
Playing on only three hours of sleep after winning the Rex Hospital Open, a Nationwide Tour event, the day before in North Carolina didn’t seem to affect Hahn’s playing.
“I’m honestly just having a good time playing golf, I have never had this much fun playing the game,” said the former Cal Bear. “To come out here and just play golf, I feel really blessed. My golf game is coming around.”
This will be Hahn’s first ever U.S. Open and he couldn’t be happier about playing it in his own backyard as he can sleep in his own bed and doesn’t have to worry about the physical and mental expenses he faces week-to-week traveling around the country.
“It’s going to be special,” said Hahn, who considers Lake Merced GC his home course. “Of all the U.S. Open courses, I know the Olympic Club better than any of the other ones.”
Finishing in a four-way tie for second at seven-under par 137 were Allen, Cejka, Hossler and Smith. Allen, a 53-year-old Champions Tour player, qualified for his fifth U.S. Open with rounds of five-under par 67 at Lake Merced and two-under par 70 at TPC Harding Park. Cejka, who’s earned more than $7 million during his PGA Tour career qualified after rounds of three-under 69 at TPC Harding Park and a four-under 68 at Lake Merced GC. Hossler of Mission Viejo, Calif. qualified for his second consecutive U.S. Open at the ripe age of 17 years-old. His afternoon round of five-under par 67 at TPC Harding Park helped him leap up the leaderboard after his two-under 70 at Lake Merced GC. Smith, a 24-year-old professional from Fallon, Nev. posted two rounds in the 60s, a 68 in the morning at Lake Merced GC and a 69 at TPC Harding Park in the afternoon.
The last two spots went to PGA Tour regular Matt Bettencourt and amateur Alberto Sanchez. Bettencourt, a former two-time NCGA Player of the Year as an amateur, returns to the U.S. Open after firing back-to-back 69s at the two courses. Sanchez of Nogales, Ariz., who will turn 18 years-old the final day of the 2012 U.S. Open, followed his morning round of five-under 67 at TPC Harding Park with a one-under 71 at Lake Merced GC in the afternoon.
Earning first alternate and second alternate spots were NCGA members Martin Trainer (first alternate) and Sebastian Crampton (second alternate).
Trainer, a junior at USC, played consistent with rounds of 70 and 69 for a 139 total. The Palo Alto native had seven birdies during his morning round at Lake Merced GC, but also had five bogeys to finish at two-under 70. In the afternoon he was much more stable making four birdies and one bogey to post a three-under 69 at TPC Harding Park.
Sixteen year-old Crampton made the golf world buzz after his first round six-under 66 at TPC Harding Park Monday morning. The Pacific Grove resident had a share of the 18-hole lead, which led to a good size gallery of about 50 or so people following him in the afternoon at Lake Merced GC.
The sophomore at RL Stevenson School was in the zone during his opening 18 holes, not knowing where he stood until the 18th green when he asked his father, who caddies for him, what his score was.
“Nothing really went wrong, except a few putts I left short that were dead center,” he said of his morning round, which included seven birdies and one bogey. “Everything inside 15 feet seemed to go in.”
The afternoon proved to be somewhat of a different story. Crampton, who admitted feeling nervous going into the second round, couldn’t convert as many birdies as he only made two in the afternoon. After his second birdie of the round on No. 6, his 15th hole to get to seven-under total, disaster struck on No. 7 where he took double-bogey. Finishing with a one-over 73 put him at 139, five-under par to come up one stroke away from possibly qualifying.
What made Crampton’s case even more interesting was that he came up short at U.S. Open Local Qualifying at Pasatiempo GC, having earned first alternate. Fortunately, he got a call during his practice round Sunday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. telling him that someone withdrew giving him a spot in the field.
The 2012 U.S. Open Championship will take place just four miles up the road from Lake Merced GC at San Francisco’s Olympic Club June 14-17, 2012. This will be the fifth time the U.S. Open will be held at the Olympic Club in the tournament’s rich history.