US Open Sectional Storylines

usga%20logo.gifMonday marks one of the best golf days of the year: U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying.

Stars, former stars and hungry mini-tour pros tee it up on a level playing field and just like last year, here are just a few of the "storylines" to watch out for, courtesy of the USGA Media Department.

Storylines for the 2007 U.S. Open From Sectional Qualifying

Bear Creek Country Club ( Murrieta , Calif. ; 74 players for 4 spots)

  • Danny Lee , a 16-year-old amateur from New Zealand , was a semifinalist at the 2006 U.S. Junior.
  • Eric Meeks of Las Vegas , Nev. , captured the 1988 U.S. Amateur.
  • Mike Sica of La Quinta, Calif., managed to shoot a 3-under-par 69 at his local qualifier at Bermuda Dunes (Calif.) C.C. with borrowed clubs because his did not arrive at the airport following a Canadian Tour event. He played with an old set of clubs, his father’s driver and a putter he never had used.

Columbine Country Club ( Littleton , Colo. ; 20 players for 1 spot)

  • Dustin White of Pueblo , Colo. , made it through both stages of U.S. Open qualifying in 2006 to qualify for the field at Winged Foot. He missed the cut.

Walton Heath Golf Club ( Surrey , England ; 72 players for 9 spots)

  • Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland has represented Europe on five Ryder Cup teams and defeated Tiger Woods in the final of the 2000 World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship.
  • Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain has also competed in seven U.S. Opens and shared runner-up honors in 2000 at Pebble Beach .
  • Oliver Wilson represented Great Britain and Ireland at the 2003 Walker Cup Match.
  • Francesco Molinari of Italy is the brother of 2005 U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari . 
  • Paul Lawrie of Scotland came from 10 strokes back in the final round to win the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie in a playoff over Justin Leonard and Jean Van de Velde .
  • Jean Van de Velde of France is known for his 72nd-hole collapse at the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie when he made a triple-bogey 7. He lost in the subsequent playoff to Paul Lawrie .
  • Paul McGinley of Ireland holed the Ryder Cup-clinching putt for Europe at the 2002 Matches at The Belfry.

Jupiter Hills Club ( Tequesta , Fla. ; 47 players for 2 spots)

  • Fredrik Jacobson of Sweden is a PGA Tour regular who tied for fifth at the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields.

Hawks Ridge Golf Club (Ball Ground, Ga. ; 36 golfers for 3 spots)

  • Peter Marshall , 15, of Lake Forest , Ill. , is the youngest player to advance to sectional qualifying. He turned 15 on Jan. 10. He is one of two 15-year-olds to make it to the sectional qualifying portion of the championship.
  • Dave Womack of McDonough , Ga. , won the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur title.
  • PGA Tour player Jason Dufner of Auburn , Ala. , made the cut at the 2006 U.S. Open and was the runner-up to Trevor Immelman at the 1998 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
  • Hall of Famer Larry Nelson, 59, of Marietta , Ga. , won the U.S. Open in 1983 at Oakmont ( Pa. ) Country Club. Nelson held off defending champion Tom Watson by a stroke. He holed a 62’ birdie putt at the 70th hole.
  • Ryan Hybl of Winterville , Ga. , was the runner-up to Dave Womack at the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur and currently serves as an assistant men’s golf coach at his alma mater, the University of Georgia .
  • PGA Tour player Heath Slocum owns two tour victories, the last coming at the 2005 Southern Farm Bureau Classic. He has only played in one previous U.S. Open, missing the cut in 2002 at Bethpage State Park .
  • Matt Kuchar of Atlanta , Ga. , was the 1997 U.S. Amateur champion and represented the USA at the 1999 Walker Cup Match. In 1998, he made the 36-hole cut at both the Masters and U.S. Open.

Riverside Golf Club ( North Riverside , Ill. ; 45 players for 5 spots)

  • Len Mattiace of Jacksonville , Fla. , was the runner-up to Mike Weir at the 2003 Masters.
  • Nationwide Tour player James Driscoll of Brookline , Mass. , was the runner-up to Jeff Quinney at the 2000 U.S. Amateur and was a member of the 2001 USA Walker Cup team. Driscoll also was the runner-up at the 1995 U.S. Junior.
  • Mike Small of Champaign , Ill. , is the head men’s golf coach at the University of Illinois who has also qualified for several PGA Championships.
  • Mario Tiziani of Shorewood , Minn. , is the brother-in-law of PGA Tour player Steve Stricker .
  • Jeff Overton of Evansville, Ind., was a 2005 USA Walker Cupper who advanced to the semifinals of the 2004 U.S. Amateur.
  • Former PGA Tour player Chip Beck, 50, of Lake Forest , Ill. Beck shared second place at the 1986 and ’89 U.S. Opens.

Indian Hills Country Club ( Mission Hills , Kan. ; 22 players for 1 spot)

  • Matt Gogel of Mission Hills , Kan. , is a former PGA Tour winner (AT&T National Pro-Am)

Woodmont Country Club ( Rockville , Md. ; 65 players for 5 spots)

  • Jonathan Moore of Vancouver , Wash. , won the 2006 NCAA Division I title for Oklahoma State and was a member of the 2006 USA World Amateur Team. He also qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open.
  • Brad Faxon of Barrington , R.I. , will be looking to play in his 21 st U.S. Open. The 1983 USA Walker Cupper owns eight PGA Tour wins, the last coming at the 2005 Buick Championship. He has played in 19 U.S. Opens.
  • Jordan Byrd of Clemson , S.C. , is the brother of PGA Tour player and former USA Walker Cupper Jonathan Byrd.
  • Peter Uihlein , 17, of Bradenton , Fla. , is one of the top junior golfers in the country and the son of Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein .
  • Conrad Ray of Austin , Minn. , is the head men’s golf coach at Stanford University and a former Stanford teammate of Tiger Woods. He got into the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst as an alternate.
  • Fred Funk , 51, of Ponte Vedra , Fla. , has won titles on both the PGA and Champions tours this year. He captured the 2005 Players Championship at the age of 48.

Old Oaks C.C./Century C.C. (Purchase, N.Y.; 58 golfers for 3 spots)

  • Nationwide Tour player Ricky Barnes of Scottsdale , Ariz. , won the 2002 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills. He has qualified for three U.S. Opens, but none since he turned professional.
  • Jon McLean of Weston , Fla. , is the son of noted PGA teaching professional Jim McLean . McLean lost to eventual runner-up John Kelly in the third round of the 2006 U.S. Amateur.

OSU Scarlet G.C./Scioto C.C. ( Columbus , Ohio ; 144 players for 24 spots)

  • Rocco Mediate of Naples , Fla. , was born in Greensburg , Pa. , near Oakmont. He was paired with Arnold Palmer for the first two rounds in 1994. He later withdrew due to back problems and subsequently had surgery in July of that year.
  • Ryan Moore of Puyallup , Wash. , is the only player to win the U.S. Amateur Public Links and U.S. Amateur in the same year (2004). He also won the 2002 APL and was the 2000 U.S. Junior runner-up. He earned low-amateur honors at the 2005 Masters.
  • Jonathan Byrd of Sea Island , Ga. , is a former USA Walker Cupper (1999) who now plays on the PGA Tour (two wins). His brother Jordan also is hoping to qualify for the 2007 U.S. Open.
  • Edward Loar of Dallas , Texas , was a member of the 1999 USA Walker Cup team.
  • Mark O’Meara of Windermere , Fla. , won the 1998 Masters and British Open titles. He also captured the 1979 U.S. Amateur.
  • Michael Putnam of Tacoma , Wash. , was a member of the victorious 2005 USA Walker Cup team and a 2005 U.S. Open qualifier.
  • Mike Van Sickle of Wexford , Pa. , is the son of Sports Illustrated senior golf writer Gary Van Sickle . He survived a playoff at his local qualifier in Mequon , Wis. , to get the last available spot.
  • Tim Mickelson of San Diego , Calif. , is the brother of three-time major champion Phil Mickelson and the head men’s golf coach at the University of San Diego .
  • Boo Weekley of Milton, Fla., won his first PGA Tour event at the Verizon Heritage in April .
  • Jeff Quinney of Scottsdale , Ariz. , won the 2000 U.S. Amateur and competed on the 2000 USA World Amateur Team and 2001 USA Walker Cup squad. He is a PGA Tour rookie in 2007.
  • Kevin Marsh of Las Vegas , Nev. , won the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur and also served as the interim head coach for the NCAA Division I champion Pepperdine men’s golf team in 1997 when Coach John Geiberger contracted chicken pox. Marsh is a Pepperdine graduate.
  • Bob Ford , 53, of Oakmont , Pa. , is the head professional at Oakmont C.C., the site of the 2007 U.S. Open. Ford made the cut at the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont.
  • Steve Jones of Tempe , Ariz. , is the 1996 U.S. Open champion. His 10-year exemption for being champion ended last year.
  • Jason Gore of Valencia , Calif. , was the darling of the 2005 U.S. Open when he earned a spot alongside Retief Goosen in the final pairing on Sunday, only to shoot an 84. Gore was also a member of the 1997 USA Walker Cup team.

Colonial Country Club ( Memphis , Tenn. ; 117 players for 15 spots)

  • John Daly of Memphis , Tenn. , won the 1991 PGA Championship as the ninth alternate and then added a second major title with the 1995 British Open.
  • Mark Brooks of Fort Worth, Texas, won the 1996 PGA Championship in a playoff and lost an 18-hole playoff to Retief Goosen at the 2001 U.S. Open.
  • Jeff Maggert of The Woodlands, Texas , owns three top-five finishes in 15 U.S. Open appearances, including a pair of thirds (2002 and ’04).
  • Bob May of Las Vegas, Nev., was the runner-up to Tiger Woods in a memorable playoff at the 2000 PGA Championship. He was a member of the 1991 USA Walker Cup team.
  • Steve Elkington of Australia won the 1995 PGA Championship in a playoff over Colin Montgomerie .
  • Hank Kuehne of McKinney, Texas won the 1998 U.S. Amateur. He is the younger brother of 1994 U.S. Amateur runner-up Trip Kuehne and three-time USGA champion Kelli Kuehne .
  • Philip Francis , 17, of Scottsdale , Ariz. , won the 2006 U.S. Junior, a year after being a quarterfinalist in the same event. He is headed to UCLA in the fall.

Northwood Club ( Dallas , Texas ; 30 players for 3 spots)

  • Justin Leonard of Dallas, Texas, won the 1992 U.S. Amateur and was a member of the 1992 USA World Amateur Team and ’93 Walker Cup squad. He later won the 1997 British Open and was the runner-up at the 1999 British Open and ’04 PGA Championship. He is looking to play in his 12th U.S. Open.
  • Cory Whitsett , 15, of Houston , Texas , is the second-youngest player to advance to sectional qualifying. The left-hander qualified for match play at the 2006 U.S. Junior, where he made a hole-in-one in stroke-play qualifying.
  • Corey Pavin of Oxnard , Calif. , is the 1995 U.S. Open champion and a member of the 1981 USA Walker Cup team. He’s played on three U.S. Ryder Cup and two U.S. President’s Cup squads. Pavin owns 15 PGA Tour victories.

Olympic Course at Gold Mountain G.C. ( Bremerton , Wash. ; 20 players for 1 spot)

  • Erik Hanson of Kirkland , Wash. , is a former major-league pitcher with the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds who has previously qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur.