Live blog: U.S. Open qualifying

USGA Sectional Qualifying Scores

Bettencourt earns final spot in Maryland

Sam Saunders bogeyed his last hole on Monday evening to fall into a playoff for the eighth and final spot at the Rockville, Md., sectional with Harold Varner III and Matt Bettencourt.

Bettencourt won the playoff at the Woodmont Country Club. Then Varner beat Saunders for the first alternate spot. Merion will mark Bettencourt's fourth appearance in a U.S. Open. He finished in a tie for 10th at Bethpage in 2009.

-- Farrell Evans

Two will have playoff for final spot out of Florida

John Nieporte and 15-year-old David Snyder will play for the third spot out of the Bradenton, Fla., sectional at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club on Tuesday.

Kevin Phelan, a University of North Florida player from Ireland, and John Hahn have already earned the other two spots to Merion out of Bradenton.

-- Farrell Evans

Two amateurs among three in from Georgia

Two of the three qualifiers out of the sectional in Georgia were amateurs.

Michael Kim, a Cal All-American, and Grayson Murray, an East Carolina freshman, advance to Merion with Ryan Nelson, who has played recently on the Web.com Tour and the NGA/Hooters Tour.

-- Farrell Evans



Four punch tickets from Purchase

The Purchase, N.Y., sectional is complete. Gavin Hall, Jesse Smith, Geoffrey Sisk and Jim Herman are the four qualifiers from the site.

Brandon Matthews, a Temple freshman, missed getting into a playoff for the fourth spot by one shot.

Brad Faxon, an eight-time PGA Tour winner, was the most notable professional at Purchase to miss qualifying for Merion.

-- Farrell Evans

Stuard, Brown get in from Springfield

Brian Stuard and Brandon Brown took the two spots at the Springfield, Ohio, sectional.

Brown is a seven-time winner on the NGA/Hooters Tour. His most recent win on the developmental tour came in May in front of family and friends at the Cherry Blossom Classic in Georgetown, Ky., where his first-prize check was a mere $22,000.

He could make that much by simply making the cut at Merion.

-- Farrell Evans



Miller struggles in California

Andy Miller, son of Johnny Miller, the '73 U.S. Open champion, struggled with a 75 in his morning round in Newport Beach, Calif., which has had some of the lower scores of the 11 sectionals on Monday.

-- Farrell Evans



Air Force pilot not soaring

In November, I did a feature on Andy Aduddell, who gave up a promising pro golf career to become an Air Force fighter pilot.

Last August, Aduddell won the Armed Forces Championship with a record 20-under total at the Naval Air Station course in Jacksonville, Fla.

In the sectional qualifier in Dallas, the former Texas Longhorn struggled in the morning with a 5-over 76.

-- Farrell Evans

Irwin struggles in Newport Beach

Steve Irwin, son of three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin, had a 9-over 81 in his first round at the Newport Beach sectional, ruining any chance of making his second U.S. Open.

Steve has caddied for his father in the U.S. Open. The elder Irwin played in the '71 and '81 Opens at Merion.

-- Farrell Evans

Bears looking golden

The Cal Bears could have three players at Merion.

Max Homa is tied for third in Newport Beach. Michael Kim and Brandon Hagy are battling in Georgia.

It's easy to see why they were the best men's college team in the country for most of the year.

-- Farrell Evans

Pros soaring in Columbus, but 'Bama golfer hanging tough

There is not one real surprise on the leader board at the Columbus, Ohio, sectional.

It appears all 15 qualifiers could be regular tour guys, but Justin Thomas, a sophomore at Alabama, has a chance to break that gridlock if he can stay inside the top 15.

Thomas, who was the National Player of the Year in 2012, is considering turning pro in the fall.

Alabama defeated Illinois for the school's first national men's golf title on Sunday.

-- Farrell Evans

Kim goes way low in Newport Beach

Bio Kim shot a 9-under 62 in his morning round to take a 3-shot lead over Aaron Goldberg at the Newport Beach, Calif., sectional.

Kim, a 22-year-old from Seoul, South Korea, plays on the Web.Com Tour and has won three times on the OneAsia Tour.

There was no evidence from his two cuts made in eight events on the Web.Com Tour this year that he had this type of round in his present game. Let's see if he can hold up under pressure.

-- Farrell Evans

Champ a name worth remembering

Cameron Champ is a name you should get to know. He is a 17-year-old from Sacramento, Calif., who already carries himself like a tour player.

He's committed to Texas A&M, but being patient about his future, Champ is using the sectional at Newport Beach as another opportunity to gain experience.

At 1 under, he 's holding his own, but he needs to go low in the afternoon to grab one of the five spots from that site.

-- Farrell Evans

Georgia field thick with top amateurs

The Ball Ground, Ga., sectional qualifier at Hawks Ridge Golf Club is shaping up to be a showdown among some of the top amateurs in the world for the three spots from that site.

Michael Kim, Gavin Green, Hans Reimer and Brandon Hagy all had excellent seasons on the college circuit.

Hagy and Kim are teammates at Cal.

-- Farrell Evans

Two-time Open champ Janzen DQd

Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen has been disqualified from the U.S. Open sectional qualifying site in Rockville, Md., for wearing metal spikes, which are not allowed at Woodmont Country Club.

At every event, players are given a list of the local rules and areas around the golf course that could raise rules questions.

Janzen hasn't played in a U.S. Open since 2008.

-- Farrell Evans



Tough going in the Empire State

There haven't been a lot of low scores at the Purchase, N.Y., sectional at Old Oaks and Century Club.

The four players from those courses who get spots at Merion probably will finish pretty close to par. The lead right now is just 3 under.

-- Farrell Evans

Arnie's grandson on track in Maryland

Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson, shot a 5-under 67 in his first round at the Rockville, Md., sectional. Palmer played in the '71 and '81 Opens at Merion.

Saunders, who plays mostly on the Web.com Tour, is in a good position to get one of the eight spots into Merion from the Maryland sectional.

-- Farrell Evans

Former British Open winners tee it up in Dallas

There are a couple of former Open Championship winners in the hunt for the four spots at the Dallas sectional at Lakewood Country Club.

Todd Hamilton, the '04 champion at Royal Troon, had a 1-under 70 on his first 18 holes of the day. Justin Leonard, the '97 winner at Troon, is 2 under with a few holes left in his morning round. Both players have struggled with their games in recent years.

-- Farrell Evans

Martin struggling in Washington sectional

Casey Martin, the most inspirational story of last year's U.S. Open at Olympic Club, is off to a tough start in the Washington state sectional at Tumble Creek Club. The 41-year-old Oregon men's golf coach went 7 over through his first nine holes.

Martin continues to not let the pain caused by the birth defect in his right leg keep him from pursuing an opportunity to play in one of golf's biggest tournaments.

Last year at Olympic Club, Martin missed the cut with rounds of 74 and 75.

-- Farrell Evans



Hot Stallings trying his luck in Tennessee

After his second consecutive top-5 finish on Sunday with a tie for fourth at the Memorial, Scott Stallings has to be the hottest player in the sectionals on Monday.

He's in Memphis, where he's 2 under through nine holes at Colonial Country Club.

A hot player such as this deserves to play in the U.S. Open.

-- Farrell Evans



Kelly rolling in Memphis

Jerry Kelly is probably the shortest hitter in the field in Memphis.

But no one is a better grinder than this 46-year-old three-time tour winner. If he makes it out of this sectional, his game suits Merion very well.

Right now, he's 4 under through nine holes at Colonial Country Club and in the lead.

-- Farrell Evans

Hossler off to slow start

Beau Hossler, a player I wrote about last year after he made it through to his second consecutive U.S. Open, isn't off to a hot start in the Newport Beach, Calif., sectional.

He's 2 over early in his round. With 102 players vying for just five spots at this location, there isn't much room for error.

-- Farrell Evans



Stuard bucking his recent trend

Brian Stuard is leading the sectional at the Springfield, Ohio, sectional. It's a bit of a surprise to see him playing well. His 65 in the morning at Springfield Country Club is his lowest competitive round since a 65 in the final round of the Sony Open in January.

And since a tie for 16th at Bay Hill in March, the 30-year-old Jackson, Mich., native has missed six of eight cuts on tour.

-- Farrell Evans

Kim shining through at Old Oaks

Sunny Kim. What a great first name for a golfer or for any person, for that matter. Sunny shot a 2-under 70 at Old Oaks in the New York sectional and has the lead right now with many players left to finish their first rounds.

Incidentally, I often play the other course at this sectional, the Century Country Club, a challenging old course that's full of character.

-- Farrell Evans

Sabbatini off to strong start

It's good to see Rory Sabbatini playing well in the Brookside sectional in Columbus, Ohio. He is he is 6 under and in fourth place after the first 18 holes.

His now-ex-wife, Amy, torched him on Twitter in March for "… extracurricular activities with other women." The South African wouldn't be the first golfer to come back strong after an ugly divorce.

-- Farrell Evans

Bae on the move at Brookside

I was surprised to see Sang-Moon Bae in the field at the Brookside sectional in Columbus, Ohio. What does it take to get inside the top 60 in the world? The guy won the Byron Nelson a few weeks ago. That victory gets him into next year's Masters, but not Merion.

But I'm not worried. Bae will make it to the Open out of this sectional. After the first 18 holes, he is in a tie for second at 8 under, a shot back of Josh Teater.

-- Farrell Evans

Spieth heating up in Dallas

It's no surprise to see Jordan Spieth leading the Dallas sectional. At 19, he's proved to be a bona fide PGA Tour player.

The former Texas star and Dallas native has already made close to a million bucks this year on tour.

Last year, I was talking to him and his dad on the range at the Northern Trust Open about when he was going to turn pro. They weren't sure when he was going to be ready.

What a difference a year makes.

-- Farrell Evans

Amateurs going low in Georgia

Gavin Green, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of New Mexico, is leading the Hawks Ridge Golf Club sectional in Ball Ground, Ga., which will send three players to Merion. He is 6 under through nine holes, a shot better than another amateur, Michael Kim, a Cal sophomore, who is the 2013 Jack Nicklaus award recipient as the National Player of the year.

Green, a native of Kuala Lumpur, was the 2012 Malaysian Amateur champion. He recently led the Lobos to the final eight of the NCAAs, where they lost to eventual champion Alabama.

-- Farrell Evans



Duval trying to get magic back

David Duval is trying to get one of the nine spots from the Memphis sectional at Colonial Country Club.

The 13-time tour winner last played in a U.S. Open in 2010 at Pebble Beach, where he finished in a tie for 70th. That came a year after he had a tie for second at Bethpage, his best showing in 12 Opens.

After nine holes, the 41-year-old former Georgia Tech All-American is even par. It would be surprising to see him make it to Merion in a year where he has missed the cut in all four of his appearances on tour.

-- Farrell Evans



One exciting day

On Monday, 56 players will emerge from 11 sectional qualifying sites across the United States with invitations to the 2013 U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club, which begins outside Philadelphia on June 13.

Some will be familiar names from the PGA Tour, but others will be lesser-known players making their first and perhaps only appearance in a major championship.

With its local and sectional qualifiers, the U.S. Open is the most unique of the four majors. If you have at least a 1.4 handicap index and the $150 entry fee, you have the chance to get into the event.

It doesn't matter if you're an insurance salesman, a bus driver or a touring pro. If you want that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of facing Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in real competition without giving up your day job, the U.S. Open is probably your best chance.

A sectional qualifier can become an overnight sensation by virtue of a few good rounds in the real tournament. I won't soon forget how Jason Gore got to the final group on Sunday of the '05 Open at Pinehurst after making it through locals and sectionals and getting his car broken into on the way to the tournament. By the time he shot an 84 in the final round, he was already something of a cult hero.

What other major championship could make a star out of a 17-year-old high school kid with no signature amateur wins? Then make an Internet sensation out of the kid's mom.

That's exactly what happened last year at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, when Beau Hossler finished in a tie for 29th at the U.S. Open and his mother, Amy Balsz, became a social media darling after she was shown during the telecast of the event.

Hossler advanced to the championship out of the sectionals in San Francisco on a Monday. Then a couple days later he finished second in his high school state championship. Then for the next two days he took final exams in Latin, history and politics. A week later, he briefly held the lead in the U.S. Open.

Now 18 and a freshman at Texas, Hossler is one of 102 players trying to get one of the five spots from the sectional in Newport Beach, Calif.

Andy Miller is one of the notable players in this field. In 2004, the 35-year-old son of '73 U.S. Open champion Johnny Miller left professional golf to do a two-year mission for his church in Mexico. In recent years, he has married and started a family and pursued a career in architecture.

These sectional qualifiers have given past Open champions another opportunity to play in the tournament. Andy North and Lee Janzen, both two-time U.S. Open champions, have made trips to the grueling one-day, 36-hole qualifier after they lost their exemptions to the event.

Janzen and Tom Kite, the '92 Open champion at Pebble Beach, are the only two past Open winners competing in this year's sectionals. Kite is in Dallas, while Janzen tries to make his first Open field since '08 in Rockville, Md., at the Woodmont Country Club.

Most of the regular tour pros are in Memphis and Columbus, where there are nine and 15 spots available, respectively.

Lucas Glover was the last player to make it out of sectionals and win the Open, when he took the '09 championship at Bethpage.

In 1969, Orville Moody won his only PGA Tour title at the U.S. Open in a one-stroke victory over three players at the Champions Golf Club in Houston. Moody, who died in 2008, was the last player to win the Open by going through local and sectional qualifying.

Last year, sectional graduates Michael Thompson and John Peterson had a shot to win on the back nine on Sunday at the Olympic Club.

We will be giving updates throughout the day on the happenings at some of the 11 sectional sites. Over the course of a long day, we'll learn together the qualifiers that could eventually make it to the leaderboard at Merion.

-- Farrell Evans