5 Things to Know: 2024 U.S. Open Local Qualifying Week 4

By Brian DePasquale, USGA

| May 10, 2024 | Liberty Corner, N.J.

5 Things to Know: 2024 U.S. Open Local Qualifying Week 4

This is the fourth and final part in a weekly series on the path to the 124th U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, June 13-16. The two-stage process begins with 18-hole local qualifying, conducted at 109 sites in 44 U.S. states and Canada. Those players who advance will join a group of locally exempt players in final qualifying, which will be conducted over 36 holes at 13 sites between May 20 and June 3.

During the four-week stretch of local qualifying (April 22-May 20), the USGA will preview some of the players and sites that lead to final qualifying, which will be staged in England (May 20), Japan (May 20) and Canada (June 3) as well as at 10 U.S. sites, including one on May 20 and nine on June 3.

The final local qualifier will be held on May 20 at Palmer Golf Course in Alaska, a course that has been a host site eight times since 2016. Bill Engberg, 64, of Kenai, Alaska, and the superintendent at Birch Ridge Golf Course, will lead a group 14 players who will compete for one spot in the 49th state.

►The busiest day in the qualifying calendar occurs on Monday, May 13, when 24 locals are conducted. Maketewah Country Club, in Cincinnati, Ohio, returns as a host after skipping last year due to the restoration of the Donald Ross design. It will be the 46th time since 1976 that the club will host a local. Several “Cincy” residents are in the 144-player field, including Andrew Dorn, 31, who won the 2013 North & South Amateur and played in the following year’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club. Kevin Hall, 41, of Cincinnati, and Troy Taylor II, 24, of Westerville, Ohio, are attempting to play in their first U.S. Opens. Hall, who lost his hearing at age 2 after battling meningitis, competes on the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Tour. Taylor, the son of an Ohio State University basketball standout of the same first name, finished his Michigan State career in 2022-23 when he was listed as the No. 1 player in the APGA Collegiate Rankings. Matthew, 28, and Daniel Wetterich, 27, are a pair of brothers from the Queen City who were among nine players who advanced from the Maketewah local two years ago. Their older brother, David, already has advanced through local qualifying in Columbus, Ohio, and their cousin, Brett, qualified for two U.S. Opens and won the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Championship in 2006. Will Grimmer, 27, of Cincinnati, and Kyle Mueller, 28, of Athens, Ga., have both advanced to U.S. Opens through both stages of qualifying on two occasions. In 2014, Grimmer, who played at Ohio State, made it to Pinehurst No. 2 as a high school junior.

►World Golf Hall of Famer Raymond Floyd won the 1986 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, one of his four major championships. His son, Raymond Floyd Jr., will attempt to qualify for his first Open on May 13. The 49-year-old from Tunbridge, Vt., works for an equity trading firm and will play at the Country Club of Darien (Conn.). The Floyds are not the only recognizable golf name tied to the last week of local qualifying. Three-time U.S. Open qualifier Sam Saunders, 36, of Orlando, Fla., is the grandson of 1960 U.S. Open champion Arnold Palmer. Taylor Funk, 28, of Jacksonville, Fla., is the son of Fred, who won the 2009 U.S. Senior Open and appeared in 22 U.S. Opens. Taylor and Saunders will both play on May 14 at Firekeeper Golf Course, in Mayetta, Kan. The first stage of qualifying will feature two more sons of USGA champions in Jacob Immelman, 17, of Winter Park, Fla., and Hayden Wood, 28, of Edmond, Okla. Immelman’s father, Trevor, won the 1998 U.S. Amateur Public Links at Torrey Pines, and went on to claim the 2008 Masters. He is now the lead golf analyst for CBS Sports. Jacob will tee it up on May 13 at Shingle Creek G.C., in Orlando, Fla. Wood’s father, Willie, was victorious in the 1977 U.S. Junior Amateur and played in seven U.S. Opens. Eric Hallberg, 30, of Phoenix, Ariz., Nicholas Thompson, 41, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Samuel Pampling, 19, of Double Oak, Texas, and Jamison Sindelar, 34, of Horseheads, N.Y., each have a relative with ties to Pinehurst. Hallberg’s father, Gary, tied for 42nd in 1999 at Course No. 2 among his 11 U.S. Open starts. Thompson’s sister, Lexi, tied for seventh in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at No. 2. Pampling’s father, Rod, appeared in two of his 11 U.S. Opens at Pinehurst (1999, 2005). Sindelar’s father, Joey, competed in 1999, his 12th of 17 Open appearances. Eric’s local qualifier is May 13 at Phoenix (Ariz.) Country Club, Nicholas, who also has caddied for his sister, plays at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club, in Vero Beach, Fla., Samuel is at TPC Stonebrae C.C., in Hayward, Calif., and Jamison competes at Mendon (N.Y.) G.C.  

A berth in the 124th U.S. Open would bring Drew Kittleson back to a venue where he earned U.S. Amateur runner-up honors in 2008. (USGA/Chris Keane)

A berth in the 124th U.S. Open would bring Drew Kittleson back to a venue where he earned U.S. Amateur runner-up honors in 2008. (USGA/Chris Keane)

►The unofficial state anthem of North Carolina is James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind,” one of the singer-songwriter’s critically acclaimed numbers. Several players will have the Tar Heel State’s Pinehurst Resort on their mind this week as they begin the qualifying process. John Augenstein, 26, of Owensboro, Ky., and Drew Kittleson, 35, of Scottsdale, Ariz., hope to return to Course No. 2 where they were U.S. Amateur runners-up. Augenstein fell to Andy Ogletree, 2 and 1, in the 2019 championship match, while Kittleson lost to Danny Lee, 5 and 4, in the 36-hole final 11 years earlier. Both runners-up played in the following year’s U.S. Open in their lone appearances. Meanwhile, Augenstein is playing professionally on the Korn Ferry Tour, while Kittleson, a reinstated amateur, is an owner of a kitchen and bathroom remodeling company and has been the runner-up (with partner Drew Stoltz) in the last two U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championships. On May 13, Augenstein will try to advance at Marsh Creek G.C., in St. Augustine, Fla., and Kittleson will play at Phoenix C.C. Morgan Hoffmann, 34, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., who reached the 2008 U.S. Amateur quarterfinals at Pinehurst No. 2, has played in four U.S. Opens. The New Jersey native will be qualifying at Firekeeper Golf Course in Kansas on May 14. Fran Quinn, 59, and his son, Owen Quinn, 25, have great memories from the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Fran, with his son carrying the golf bag, opened with a first-round 68 and eventually tied for 56th after advancing through both stages of qualifying. Along with Fran’s nephew, Matthew Quinn, the threesome from Holden, Mass., are entered in the May 14th qualifier at Kirkbrae C.C., in Lincoln, R.I.

Tyler Clippard, 39, of Tampa, Fla., will make the move from the pitching mound to the first tee on May 14 when he competes 45 minutes from his Florida home at The Club at Eaglebrooke, in Lakeland. Clippard, a two-time Major League Baseball All-Star, pitched for 11 teams, including two stints with the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, prior to his retirement in the fall of 2023. He has admitted he would have tried golf as a professional if baseball had not worked out. Drew Olson, 41, of San Francisco, Calif., played for three National Football League franchises as an undrafted free agent. As a UCLA quarterback he passed for more than 8,500 yards and 67 touchdowns. His local qualifier is May 13 at TPC Stonebrae C.C. Three other local qualifying entrants are connected to the sports world. Joe Neuheisel, 27, of Scottsdale, Ariz., Roland Massimino, 27, of Overland Park, Kan., and Michael Feagles, 26, of Phoenix, Ariz., all have known last names. Neuheisel’s father, Rick, was a Rose Bowl MVP as a UCLA quarterback, a college and professional football coach and now works as a college football analyst on the CBS Sports Network. Massimino’s grandfather, Rollie, guided Villanova University’s basketball program to the 1985 NCAA Championship with an improbable upset of Georgetown. Feagles’ uncle, Jeff, was a Pro Bowl punter, played on five NFL teams and earned a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants. Neuheisel and Feagles tee it up on May 13 at Phoenix C.C., while Massimino is at Firekeeper Golf Course the following day.

►Is golf your day job? Not for Ricky Barnes, who became the USGA’s 500th champion when he won the 2002 U.S. Amateur at Oakland Hills C.C. in Michigan. Barnes, who stills plays golf professionally on the PGA Tour, works in the real estate and the business development world. He tied for second in the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black behind Lucas Glover. Barnes, who will qualify at The C.C. at DC Ranch, in Scottsdale, Ariz., hopes to make his first Open start since 2010. Brett Patterson, 32, of Oxford, Miss., is a certified public accountant who has been teaching cost and financial accounting at the University of Mississippi. At the same time, the 2011 U.S. Open competitor is working on his Ph.D. in accounting from Ole Miss. Patterson will play the Phoenix, Md., qualifier, at Hillendale Country Club on May 13. Justin Hicks, 49, of Wellington, Fla., and Sal Spallone, 48, of Vero Beach, Fla., are now teaching professionals. Hicks, who has played in six U.S. Opens, twice advanced through the two-stage qualifying process (2004, 2008). In 2008, he shared the first-round lead with Kevin Streelman after carding a 68 at Torrey Pines’ South Course, Spallone, who works at Quail Valley G.C., reached Pinehurst No. 2 through local and final qualifying in 2005. Christian Cavaliere, a local and final qualifier last year, founded Tremont Sporting Company, which manufacturers golf accessories. The 26-year-old from Katonah, N.Y., built the prototype for his first headcover in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shane Bacon, 40, of Westport, Conn., is the host of the golf-centric Get a Grip podcast. The national sports broadcaster has also published a children’s golf book and is a former Golf Channel host. Cavaliere and Bacon will both be in local qualifying at the C.C. of Darien on May 13.

NOTE: NBCUniversal’s Golf Channel will provide wall-to-wall coverage on Golf’s Longest Day, Monday, June 3. For more information, follow usopen.com.

Brian DePasquale is the USGA’s senior manager for communications. Email him at bdepasquale@usga.org.