"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Monday, June 6, 2016

COUNTDOWN TO OAKMONT: TEN DAYS UNTIL THE US OPEN

Stories from Sectional Qualifying Day: The field for the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont is yet to be finalized, but there were still plenty of great stories from what is usually known as "The Longest Day in Golf". Players not yet exempt from qualifying for the USGA's most coveted title teed it up this morning in 36 hole qualifying tournaments at ten sites throughout the nation. Between three and thirteen spots in the U.S. Open were up for grabs at each site. The participants ranged from accomplished major tournament winners like Vijay Singh to amateurs like you and me that made it through the almost 10,000 players that teed it up for local qualifying last month. The great aspect of our National Open is that it is truly that: Open. Anyone with a handicap index of 1.4 or lower can pay the entry fee and take a shop at qualifying for the dream of a lifetime. Four hot rounds and you can go from playing for the club championship to having a locker next to the best golfers on the planet. From locations laden with touring professionals who were exempted from local qualifying to those heavily populated with amateurs, each one had a unique flavor. I've highlighted a few.

Powell, Ohio, Wedgewood Golf and Country Club/Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club: When US Amateur and NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau turned pro following the Masters, he forfeited his exemption to the US Open. He would have had to remain an amateur in order to keep his spot that he earned by winning the Amateur title. But his gamble paid off as he fired a seven under par 63 in his second round and finished second in a sectional stacked with PGA tour players. Former world number one Luke Donald will need to emerge from a six-man playoff for the final five spots if he is to have another chance at his first major.

Rockville, Maryland, Woodmont Country Club: Naval Academy grad and service veteran Billy Hurley III has made just four cuts and pocketed a little over $66,000 this season, but after beating the field by three shots, he'll get a second consecutive chance at taking home a piece of the $10,000,000 purse at the U.S. Open in his effort to stay exempt for the 2017 season. One of the players to fall short at Woodmont was Champions Tour and past PGA Tour veteran Woody Austin, who may be best known for battling Tiger Woods in the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa.

Memphis, Tennessee, Germantown Country Club/Ridgeway Country Club: In a sectional where 14 of the 121 entries withdrew before posting their second round scores, PGA Tour veterans DJ Trahan, David Toms and JJ Henry were among the ten qualifiers. In advance of this week's St. Jude's Classic tour event, this site also attracted a high number of Tour players. Forty-nine year old Steve Stricker was among those that missed the six-man playoff for the last two spots by a single stroke.

Jacksonville, Florida, Timuquana Country Club: Rains from tropical storm Colin caused this sectional to be halted midway through the second round. The aforementioned Vijay Singh finds himself three shots behind the top four with thirteen holes left to play. Singh is a multilple major winner whose length and accuracy could still make him a threat at Oakmont, even at the age of 53.

Springfield, Ohio, Springfield Country Club: Amateur Charles Danielson holed a 40 foot putt to defeat professional Tony Finau in a playoff, joining two other amateurs in advancing to the Open from Springfield, the only sectional site that seemed to be kind to those playing for the love of the game.

As we look forward to the US Open and my coverage from Oakmont Country Club, I'll be handicapping the field and picking my favorites to lift the trophy on June 19 in posts over the next ten days.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first two, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel" and "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and SmashwordsTune into www.WPFLRADIO.com at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on "Lou in the Morning" with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.