27 More Punch Tickets to Oakmont
On Tuesday, 27 additional golfers, including U.S. Amateur champions Ryan Moore, Byeong Hun An and Matthew Fitzpatrick, have earned full exemptions into the 2016 U.S. Open Championship, to be played June 16-19 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. These exemptions bring the number of fully exempt players to 78.
All 27 exemptions were awarded to players who earned a place in the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of Monday, May 23. Byeong Hun An, who won the 2009 U.S. Amateur, is ranked No. 26. He has played in two U.S. Opens. Fitzpatrick, who won the 2013 U.S. Amateur, is ranked No. 44. He tied for 48th and was the low amateur in the 2014 U.S. Open, his lone appearance. Moore, who claimed the 2004 U.S. Amateur Championship and the 2002 and 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links titles and has four PGA Tour victories, is ranked No. 49. Moore has competed in nine previous U.S. Opens. His best finish was a tie for 10th in 2009 at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course.
The other players who earned full exemptions through the current Official World Golf Ranking are: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Kevin Chappell, Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia, Emiliano Grillo, James Hahn, Billy Horschel, Thongchai Jaidee, Smylie Kaufman, K.T. Kim, Chris Kirk, Patton Kizzire, Soren Kjeldsen, Russell Knox, Anirban Lahiri, Marc Leishman, David Lingmerth, Andy Sullivan, Justin Thomas, Jaco Van Zyl, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger and Chris Wood.
Garcia, who recorded his ninth PGA Tour victory by winning the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship on May 22, moved to No. 12 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He is the highest-ranked player in the current OWGR that was not previously exempt into the U.S. Open. Garcia, who has also posted 11 PGA European Tour wins, has competed in 16 U.S. Opens and registered four top-10 finishes. He tied for third in 2005 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
The winner of the European Tour BMW PGA Championship (May 26-29) will also earn an exemption. The number of fully exempt golfers may increase with the inclusion of the top 60 players from the OWGR as of Monday, June 13.
The first of two international sectional qualifiers for the 2016 U.S. Open was held May 23, in Japan, where four spots in the 156-player field were determined. England will host qualifying for the 12th consecutive year on May 30. Those players who qualify are in addition to the 78 fully exempt players.
Sectional qualifying in the United States, at 36 holes, will take place at 10 sites on Monday, June 6. The sites are: Lake Merced Golf Club & The Olympic Club (Ocean Course), San Francisco, Calif.; Timuquana Country Club, Jacksonville, Fla.; Ansley Golf Club (Settindown Creek Course), Roswell, Ga.; Woodmont Country Club (North Course), Rockville, Md.; Canoe Brook Country Club (North and South Courses), Summit, N.J.; Kinsale Golf and Fitness Club & Wedgewood Golf and Country Club, Columbus, Ohio; Springfield Country Club, Springfield, Ohio; Germantown Country Club & Ridgeway Country Club, Memphis, Tenn.; Lakeside Country Club, Houston, Texas; and Royal Oaks Country Club, Vancouver, Wash.
The U.S. Open will be contested for a record ninth time at Oakmont Country Club. Previous U.S. champions at Oakmont are: Tommy Armour (1927), Sam Parks Jr. (1935), Ben Hogan (1953), Jack Nicklaus (1962), Johnny Miller (1973), Larry Nelson (1983), Ernie Els (1994) and Angel Cabrera (2007).