Monday, June 11, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO – A look at the eight amateurs in the U.S. Open field:
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Hometown: Los Alamitos, Calif.
The skinny: Cantlay is the only amateur who didn’t have to qualify for this year’s Open. He was exempt as the winner of last year’s Mark H. McCormack medal, given to the No. 1 player in the R&A World Amateur Rankings, and for his runner-up at the 2011 U.S. Amateur. Cantlay is trying to earn U.S. Open low-amateur honors for the second consecutive year, and top-amateur honors in a third consecutive major. He was T-47 at this year’s Masters and is coming off a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championship two weeks ago. He shot a tournament-low 66 in the final round at Riviera. He was 11th in this season’s Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings after ranking first last year.
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Hometown: Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
School: Santa Margarita High School
The skinny: Hossler is making a second consecutive Open, giving him more experience at this championship than some of the PGA Tour players in the field. He shot 76-77 to miss last year’s cut. He finished second June 6 at the California state championship, just two days after he qualified for this year’s Open. He’s No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings and has made a verbal commitment to NCAA champion Texas for the 2013-14 campaign.
He's used to qualifying for USGA championships at an early age. He played in the 2009 U.S. Amateur as an eighth grader.
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Hometown: Wellington, Fla.
College: Florida State
The skinny: The long hitter from Florida State is making his last amateur appearance this week. He advanced out of a playoff at the Lecanto, Fla. sectional qualifier. He was 20th in this year’s Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings after winning three times.
Koepka was twice voted Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year.
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Hometown: Nogales, Ariz.
College: Arizona State
The skinny: Sanchez, No. 188 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, joins Hossler as players in the U.S. Open field who have yet to start college. He’s scheduled to begin his freshman season at Arizona State later this year, where he’ll be coached by Tim Mickelson. Sanchez earned his U.S. Open berth at nearby Lake Merced Golf Club and TPC Harding Park, which are both within 10 miles of Olympic Club. He’ll turn 18 on Sunday. He spent the past two years at La Jolla Country Day School. “He’s one of those guys who in general doesn’t have a strength or a weakness,” Mickelson said. “He just goes about his business.”
Sanchez graduated from La Jolla Country Day School in California on June 1 and qualified for the U.S. Open three days later.
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Hometown: Albany, Ore.
College: Oregon State
The skinny: Sherwood, an Oregon State senior, is playing his first USGA championship. He beat Oregon first-team All-American Daniel Miernicki in a playoff to keep Miernicki from joining his college coach, Casey Martin, in the field at Olympic. Sherwood, No. 353 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, has two career top-10s in three college seasons. He was medalist at last year’s Oregon Amateur. This was the third consecutive year he advanced to U.S. Open sectional qualifying. “It’s a little bit of a step up, but hopefully I’m moving in the right direction,” Sherwood said. “Just a month ago I struggled on my home course (he shot 80 in the final round of the Pac-12 Championship). It’s golf, man. If you just keep your head down and believe in yourself, good things will happen.”
Sherwood will have his father, Bill, as a caddie. His father was a member of the 1987-88 Oregon State basketball team.
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The skinny: Spieth has been riding an emotional rollercoaster. He helped Texas win the NCAA title June 3, holing out for eagle 2 on Riviera's par-4 15th to beat Justin Thomas, the nation's No. 1 player, in Texas' final match against Alabama. He had U.S. Open sectional qualifying the next day in Houston, but lost a playoff for a U.S. Open spot. He got into the field Monday evening after Brandt Snedeker withdrew. Spieth was No. 2 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings in his recently-completed freshman season at Texas. He has plenty of experience in Tour events, having contended twice in his hometown Byron Nelson Championship. He missed the cut at this year's Northern Trust Open and was 41st in this year's Valero Texas Open.
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Hometown: Rowayton, Conn.
The skinny: Wilson is paired in the first two rounds with another Stanford product, Casey Martin. Wilson’s focus isn’t all on golf this week, though. The Stanford junior tweeted Sunday, “Writing a paper on Islam and 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Don't think my competitors are doing same.” He rebounded quickly from the NCAA Championship two weeks ago, where he finished 123rd, to win his sectional qualifier at Canoe Brook in New Jersey.
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Hometown: Kissimmee, Fla. (originally from Beijing)
School: Online high school
The skinny: Andy Zhang earned a spot in the U.S. Open after Paul Casey withdrew with an injury on Monday afternoon in San Francisco. Zhang was the second alternate - behind Jordan Spieth - after losing in a playoff to Brooks Koepka at a sectional qualifier in Lecanto, Fla. Zhang plays out of Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Fla., where he is coached by Andrew Park. Originally from Beijing, Zhang has lived in the United States since he was 10 and has won a pair of junior titles over the past four years. Read Nick Masuda's interview with Zhang after receiving the news on Monday.