Columbus sectional allows 15 to make US Open

Michael Putnam shared medalist honors at the Columbus section with Sam Saunders.
Michael Putnam shared medalist honors at the Columbus section with Sam Saunders.

Michael Putnam came into the Columbus sectional of U.S. Open qualifying with five bad weeks under his belt. He wanted a “home game”, which would result in him playing Chambers Bay, which is a mile from his residence.

Putnam and 119 other golfers braved a dicey forecast, however for him and 14 others the risk was worth it and a trip to Chambers Bay awaits.

“This has got to be up with one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” Putnam said.

Putnam shared medalist honors with Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson and both posted a 36-hole total of 12-under par.

It is interesting enough that Saunders is Palmer’s grandson but it is even more fascinating that he qualified for the US Open using his caddie’s clubs.

“Travis [McAlister] has the same irons I used to have, and I decided to use his instead of mine,” said Saunders. “I also made a good swing adjustment over the weekend. I hit it well.”

Camilo Villegas led after one round shooting eight-under par. He shot even par in the second and final round of qualifying, good enough to earn his way to Chambers Bay.

The others that made the U.S. Open from the Columbus sectional were: David Hearn, amateur Bryson Dechambeau, Sebastian Cappelen, Daniel Summerhays, George McNeill, Ryo Ishikawa, Brad Fritsch, Cameron Smith, Bo Van Pelt, D.A. Points, Robert Streb and Danny Lee.

Points, Streb and Lee prevailed in a five-man playoff for the final three spots over Alex Cejka and Kevin Chappell. The playoff lasted two holes with Cejka eliminated after the first hole and Chappell the second. Chappell will be the first alternate and Cejka the second from the section.

Dechambeau, the NCAA champion shot rounds of 66-67 to qualify.

“I got off to a hot start and that kind of propelled me,” Dechambeau said. “I knew my game was good enough, it was just about believing and trusting myself.”

Van Pelt shared the first round lead at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and carried his good form into the first round shooting a 65 to post seven-under par. He finished at -8.

Streb stayed well after his round watching the Memorial Tournament playoff to root on his fellow Tour graduate David Lingmerth. He watched the playoffs with a couple of media members and then kept the good vibes going as one of the survivors of the playoff.

The weather forecast made 28 players withdraw prior to the round.

Several golfers withdrew during the second round when their chances of making Chambers Bay ended. Among the golfers that fell in that category were Steve Stricker, Vijay Singh, Stewart Cink, Steven Bowditch and James Hahn. Stricker had five holes to play but signed his card, complimented the course and left with his streak of nine consecutive U.S. Open’s made.

Among those who fell short and played 36 holes were Rory Sabbatini [-1], Justin Thomas [-2], Chesson Hadley [-2], Maverick McNeely [-3], Memorial Tournament champion David Lingmerth [-3] and Kevin Streelman [-4].

The U.S. Open will start on June 15.

Author: Zac Weiss

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