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Jun 5, 2018 4:25 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

2004 U.S. Open Champion Retief Goosen Fails To Qualify For This Year's Championship Through Sectionals

Retief Goosen plays his tee shot on the 13th hole during sectional qualifying for the 2018 U.S. Open at Ridgeway Country Club in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday. USGA/JOHN GRESS
Jun 5, 2018 4:38 PM

Retief Goosen—the South African native who won the last U.S. Open at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in 2004—failed to qualify for the 118th running of the event, coming up on June 14-17, at sectional qualifying that took place at Ridgeway and Colonial Country Clubs in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday.After winning the U.S. Open in 2001 in a playoff with Mark Brooks, Goosen, 49, edged Phil Mickelson by two strokes to win 2004’s Open at Shinnecock Hills. Goosen has seven wins on the PGA Tour and 12 victories on the PGA European Tour.

Goosen was part of a very talented field in Memphis on Monday where 117 players were looking to qualify for 11 spots, the second largest group of qualifiers, second only to the events in Surrey, England, and Columbus, Ohio, which each had 14 players qualify. But Goosen’s 4-under total was three shy of the total that created a playoff for the final three spots. Sam Burns, 21, won the sectional qualifier in Tennessee to punch his ticket to the East End, along with 51-year-old Steve Stricker. The 12-time PGA Tour winner tied for second to advance and make it two years in a row where he qualified through sectionals to reach the Open.

There were questions leading up to this year’s Open on whether or not Goosen would receive a special exemption to qualify, but the USGA answered those questions in mid-March when it announced that past champions Ernie Els and Jim Furyk would receive special exemptions, but not Goosen, who was exempt into last year’s Open. Els, 48, won the 1994 U.S. Open at Oakmont and the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. Furyk, 47, won his U.S. Open title at Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois.

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