Simpson, Todd headline Triangle golfers in Open field
Posted June 3
Pinehurst, N.C. — North Carolina will be well represented when the PGA Tour tackles Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Open next week as eight golfers with Triangle connections are part of the field.
Headlining the group is Raleigh native Webb Simpson. Ranked No. 33 in the world, Simpson graduated from Broughton High School in Raleigh before attending Wake Forest University. Simpson has one PGA Tour victory this season and four in his career.
Simpson’s only major victory came at the U.S. Open in 2012, at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
One of the Tour’s hottest players, Cary native Brendon Todd played his way into the field in recent weeks. Just two weeks ago, Todd was ranked No. 136 in the world, and the only hope to play at Pinehurst seemed to be through sectional qualifying. PGA golfers with Triangle ties
Then he went on a tear, winning the Byron Nelson Championship on May 18 and finishing in a tie for fifth at the Crowne Plaza Invitational to jump to No. 57 in the world rankings and automatically qualify. The Open will be Todd’s first major tournament.
Also a product of Wake Forest, Bill Haas will make the short drive from his home in Greenville, S.C., to Pinehurst. Ranked just one spot behind Simpson, at No. 34 in the world, Haas has five career victories, though he is yet to finish atop of the leaderboard in 2014.
Haas made the cut in the 2004 U.S. Open – the first time he had done so in a major – before finishing 40th. He was not part of the 2005 Pinehurst field.
Kevin Streelman, a Duke graduate, will attempt to earn the first major victory of his career. Streelman is currently ranked No. 56 in the world.
Though he has struggled at majors for the majority of his career, Streelman has made the cut in the last three majors he has played in. The last major cut he missed: the 2013 U.S. Open.
Fellow Duke graduate Joe Ogilvie will also be playing at Pinehurst. Ogilvie qualified for the Open by finishing in the top-13 of sectional qualifying in Memphis Monday.
Ogilvie’s lone career PGA victory came back in 2007. This will be the first major Ogilvie has competed in since the 2013 U.S. Open where he failed to make the cut.
A third Blue Devil will be in the field, as Ryan Blaum qualified for the Open as part of a five man playoff after just missing the cut in the Columbus, Ohio sectional. This will be Blaum's second U.S. Open after playing in the 2009 version. It is also his second major tournament overall.
Mark Wilson will be the only representative from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The owner of five career Tour victories, Wilson has never made the cut at a U.S. Open. His best career finish at a major was at the PGA Championship in 2011 where he finished tied for 26th.
Also making the trip to Pinehurst will be former NC State golfer and South Africa native Garth Mulroy. Mulroy, who plays now on the European Tour, shot a two-round 7-under at the Walton Heath Golf Club in Surry, England May 26 to tie for second and earn his spot. It will be his second career major after playing in the Open Championship in 2012.
The One’s Who Missed
Cary’s Ben Kholes, Raleigh’s Chesson Hadley, NC State’s Albin Choi and Campbell alum David Mathis all attempted to qualify for the Open at the sectional qualifying tournament at Columbus, Ohio Monday and all failed to qualify.
Kholes was the best of the bunch, shooting a two-round 3-over-par. That was five strokes off the cut-line. Hadley turned in a plus-6, Choi a plus-6 and Mathis withdrew.
NC State’s Tim Clark also failed to qualify for the U.S. Open, missing the cutline in the Memphis sectional by two strokes.