Golf

Weather suspends US Open qualifier at Governors Club

Posted May 15, 2014
Updated May 16, 2014

Inclement weather suspended the men's US Open qualifier at the Governors Club in Chapel Hill Thursday. Heavy rain and lightning in the area stopped play at 12:09 p.m. 

"It's definitely unfortunate but everyone has to deal with it," said East Chapel Hill High School's Ben Griffin. "It's just about mentally overcoming it, staying in the moment, going back out there ready to play."

No golfer finished their round Thursday and play will resume Friday at 9 a.m. Participants will play wherever they left off, with the first group at hole 17. Ten pairings had yet to tee-off. 

Of the 120 participants, six will advance to sectional qualifying. 

"It's tougher to get out of this local qualifying event," said tournament director Rusty Harder. "Here you've only got 18 holes to perform. You got to go low, you know you have to shoot three or four under par to have a chance here today. You don't have a chance to mess up."

This year there are 12 sectional sites – 10 in the U.S., one in England, and one in Japan. The international qualifiers take place on May 26, while the U.S. qualifiers are on June 2. Whereas the local qualifiers are one round of 18 holes, the sectional qualifiers are played over 36 holes in one day.

"To make it to the Open would be pretty cool, especially with it in Pinehurst this year," said Griffin, who made it out of the local qualifier last year. "That'd be a dream come true."

Twelve-year-old Akshay Bhatia shot his first hole-in-one on hole 17 at Pinehurst No. 2 and will tee-off in the local qualifier Friday. 

"It's weird because everyone is staring at me like 'Oh why is he here? He doesn't need to be here' but I mean, why not?," said Bhatia. 

The Governors Club is one of 111 local qualifying sites in America, open to any professional or amateur golfer with a handicap of 1.4 or better. The 2014 U.S. Open will take place June 12-15 at Pinehurst No. 2.

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