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Feb 27, 2018 11:21 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton Golf Club To Host Local Qualifier For U.S. Open Championship In May

Feb 27, 2018 11:47 AM

Southampton Golf Club—located about a mile away from Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, site of the 118th U.S. Open Championship—will be one of 112 sites used throughout the country for local qualifying, the United State Golf Association announced on February 21.

With the U.S. Open set for June 14-17, the local qualifiers—to be conducted over 18 holes in 45 states and Canada—will take place between April 30 and May 17. The qualifier at Southampton is scheduled for Monday, May 7, and is one of 26 qualifiers to take place that day across the country, according to the USGA. Cherry Valley Club in Garden City is the only other Long Island course to host a local qualifier, set for Wednesday, May 16.

Those looking to enter local qualifying will have to file an entry, which opens next week, and pay the $200 entry fee. The deadline to file an entry is Wednesday, April 25, at 5 p.m.

Those players who advance out of local qualifying will join a group of exempt players in sectional qualifying, which will be conducted over 36 holes at 12 sites, 10 of them in the U.S., one in England and one in Japan. All 10 U.S. sites and the England site will host sectional qualifying on Monday, June 4, while Japan will host its qualifier on Monday, May 21. It will mark the 14th consecutive year that England and Japan have hosted international sectional qualifying.

In 2017, the USGA accepted 9,485 entries for the championship at Erin Hills, in Erin, Wisconsin. The record of 10,127 was established for the 2014 championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, in the Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Several local exemptions for the U.S. Open were amended prior to the 2014 championship. The top 500 point leaders and ties from the Official World Golf Ranking™ (OWGR) as of March 5 will be exempt from local qualifying. Any player in the OWGR’s top 500 (as of April 23) who has filed an entry prior to the April 25 deadline will also earn a local exemption. In the past, only the top 150 point leaders were exempt. Additionally, any player who has had multiple finishes in the top 400 of the year-ending OWGR in the past five calendar years (2013-2017) is exempt from local qualifying.

Ken Venturi (1964) and Orville Moody (1969) are the only players to win the U.S. Open after qualifying through both local and sectional play. Last year, 21 players advanced through local and sectional qualifying to the 156-player U.S. Open Championship field at Erin Hills. Of those 21, four players made the 36-hole cut, including Jack Maguire, who started his journey at Orange Tree Golf Club, in Orlando, Florida. Several U.S. Open champions have advanced to the championship through both local and sectional qualifying at some point in their careers, including Lucas Glover, David Graham, Lou Graham, Hale Irwin, Tony Jacklin, Lee Janzen, Tom Kite, Johnny Miller, Corey Pavin—who won the Open at Shinnecock in 1995—Curtis Strange, Lee Trevino and Fuzzy Zoeller. To be eligible, a player must have a Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional golfer.

“Thousands of professional and amateur golfers will have an opportunity to take part in U.S. Open qualifying due to the work of Allied Golf Associations, supported by the USGA’s five regional affairs offices, along with Golf Canada,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “The two-tiered qualifying process will culminate in the championship at historic Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, the only course to host the U.S. Open in three different centuries and one of the USGA’s five founding member clubs.”

Playoff Changes

The USGA also announced, on Monday, a revised playoff format for all four of its Open Championships, including the U.S. Open at Shinnecock. A two-hole aggregate playoff will be used to break any ties after 72 holes of stroke-play competition. If the playoff results in a tie, the tied players would immediately continue to play off hole-by-hole (sudden-death format) until the champion is determined. The former format required players to complete another 18 holes to determine a winner. The most famous instance, of course, came in 2008, when Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff at Torrey Pines to win what was his 14th major championship. It was the last time Woods won a major.

“We know how important it is to everyone in the golf world to see play conclude on the Sunday of a major championship, and to award the trophy to the champion,” said USGA CEO/Executive Director Mike Davis, who made the announcement prior to online player registration for each USGA Open Championship, which opens next week. “After receiving input from a variety of constituents, including players, fans, volunteers, officials and our broadcast partners, it clearly came across as something that everyone valued, and would benefit from.

“There is no right or wrong way to determine a winner in stroke play, but we’ve seen over the years how the aggregate playoff has served us well in both the U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open,” Davis added. “Two holes will allow a player to recover from any single mistake, and at the same time, provide a memorable, and perhaps dramatic, experience for all involved.”

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