One of the great but overlooked stories of the 2009 U.S. Open is that three of the top four finishers all got into the event through the sectional qualifying tournaments. Lucas Glover, the winner, played his way into the tournament by shooting 133 in the qualifier at Columbus, Ohio, as did runner-up Ricky Barnes.
Barnes, who led after the first two rounds, has been playing on the Nationwide Tour. David Duval, who tied for second, was also a qualifier, having rebuilt what looks to be a promising game after years in the cellar recouping from a precipitous drop from his British Open win in 2001.
The last time a qualifier won the tournament was New Zealander Michael Campbell in 2005. Steven Jones did it in 1996, which was the first time in 20 years. In other words, Glover is one of only three qualifiers to win the U.S. Open since about the time Tiger Woods was born.
A record number of golfers entered the U.S. Open this year, according to the USGA. 9,023 players entered the qualifying tournaments. Entries were received from golfers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 71 foreign countries.
The stellar performance by qualifiers is particularly apropos at Bethpage, where top tour pros and weekend hackers are equally welcome to play.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo