Two-time champ Lee Janzen qualifies for U.S. Open after six-year absence

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Scott Rushing
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Two-time champ Lee Janzen qualifies for U.S. Open after six-year absence

A pair of two-time U.S. Open champions, Lee Janzen and Retief Goosen, punched their tickets for the year's second major through sectional qualifiers across the United States on Monday.

Janzen took medalist honors in his New York sectional while Goosen sneaked in by a shot in Memphis, Tennessee.

As Janzen, 50, and Goosen, 46, set their travel plans to head to Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington, next week, 15-year-old Cole Hammer also earned his way into the U.S. Open field by finishing second at the Dallas sectional. Hammer plans to enroll at the University of Texas in 2018.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, who hasn't played the event since 2008, will make his return next week at Chambers Bay after qualifying Monday in Purchase, New York. USGA/Michael Cohen

On the day, there were 787 golfers vying for 58 spots -- or a 7 percent chance of getting a coveted tee time in the Pacific Northwest -- at 10 sites across the country for the tournament that begins June 18.

Janzen, who won the U.S. Open in 1993 at Baltusrol and in 1998 at the Olympic Club, hasn't played his national championship since 2008. He teed it up at his first U.S. Open in 1985. Goosen won his U.S. Opens in 2001 at Southern Hills and in 2004 at Shinnecock Hills.

In the Jupiter, Florida, qualifier at The Bears Club, former world No. 1 Luke Donald shared the low round with Andrew Pope and amateur Jack Maguire. Sam Horsfield defeated fellow amateur Cristobal Del Solar for the final spot in a playoff. Donald did have an inside edge as he is a member at the course.

Chambers Bay local Michael Putnam will get to go home to play the U.S. Open after tying for the low round in his Columbus, Ohio, sectional, which had 15 spots on offer. Other notables from his location were Arnold Palmer's grandson Sam Saunders, Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, and PGA Tour veterans Bo Van Pelt, Camilo Villegas and D.A. Points. Recent NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau out of SMU also took this route to the field.

The player DeChambeau nipped by a shot in the NCAAs last week, Cheng-Tsung Pan from the University of Washington, posted the low score at the Tumble Creek Club in Cle Elum, Washington, to lead three more qualifiers to the U.S. Open.

In Ball Ground, Georgia, it was a split decision for the Castro family. Roberto Castro, who has made nearly $3.6 million in his PGA Tour career, edged out brother Franco by a shot to claim the third and final spot in their qualifier. Amateurs Matthew NeSmith and Lee McCoy finished first and second, respectively.

At Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland, Tim O'Neal birdied the third playoff hole against Joshua Persons to claim the third and final spot in their sectional. PGA Tour pro and U.S. Naval Academy graduate Billy Hurley shared medalist honors with amateur Denny McCarthy for the other two available places in the field.

Tony Finau, coming off his second straight top-10 finish on the PGA Tour last week at the Memorial Tournament, will play his first major championship after claiming the second of four spots in the Springfield, Ohio, sectional. Also making it to Chambers Bay next week from the same location are Michael Davan, amateur Nick Hardy and Stephan Jaeger.

The last player to win the U.S. Open who had to go through sectional qualifying was Lucas Glover in 2009 at Bethpage Black.


Not only did Lee Jansen

Not only did Lee Jansen quality for the U.S. Open that was played last week, He was VERY close to the TOP of the leader board for most of the event. I don't remember exactly where he finished but it was not too far off the lead as I remember. It was very nice to see Lee play so well after a long lay off. I hope he starts playing on the Championship Tour now that he's old enough and he still has some game left in him.


Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.