Minnesota Golf Association

5 Birdies in 6 Holes on Back 9 Propel Van Rooyen into U.S. Open

June 7, 2019


Erik Van Rooyen went on a birdie spree Monday just when he needed one. The former University of Minnesota star had just bogeyed the 10th hole at Scioto Country Club and was even par through 28 holes in a Sectional U.S. Open Qualifier.

But the 29-year-old South African bounced back with a birdie at the 362-yard, par-4 11th hole, then made another at the 550-yard, par-5 12th. He proceeded to make two more birdies in a row on two of the hardest holes on the course, the 471-yard, par-4 13th and the 250-yard, par-3 14th. After a par at the 15th, Van Rooyen added one more birdie at the 426-yard, par-4 16th. 

He parred in from there for a 6-under-par 64 and a 36-hole total of 137. That, as it turned out, was good enough for him to claim one of the 14 spots that were available for the 2019 U.S. Open, which will be played next week (June 13-16) at the Pebble Beach Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.

Van Rooyen's 64 was the lowest round of the day at Scioto, one of two courses that were used for the qualifier, and Brookside Golf & CC was the other. There were 121 players trying for those 14 spots. 

Luke Guthrie claimed medalist honors with a 131. He opened with a 64 at Brookside. Anirban Lahiri was a stroke behind him (67 S, 65 B -- 132) in second, and Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson matched Guthrie's 64 at Brookside on his way to a 133, which put him in third. 

Van Rooyen was in an eight-way tie for seventh. There was another large group -- seven players -- who ended up in a tie for 15th and missed qualifying by a single shot. Included were PGA Tour winners Kevin Tway, Scott Piercy, Ryan Armour and Cameron Champ. 

Pebble Beach is an iconic course, but then so is Scioto. It was just down the street from where Jack Nicklaus grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and it was where he learned to play golf. He went on to win 18 major championships (20 if you count his to U.S. Amateurs), and one of them was the 1972 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. 

Van Rooyen, who never played in a major until last summer, will be now be playing in his third. He tied for 17th at the British Open in July of 2018 and tied for eighth three weeks ago at the PGA Championship.

His showing at the PGA moved him into the top 100 in Official World Golf Rankings for the first time. He is currently No. 90. The former Minnesota State Amateur champion (2012) -- who claimed his first victory as a professional at the 2016 Tapemark Charity Pro-Am -- plays mainly on the European Tour. He's No. 19 on that money list this year, having earned 690,041 Euros in 13 tournaments so far in 2018. But he's getting into some tournaments on the PGA Tour, as well -- he's made $417,033 in three events -- and his hot streak at the end of the U.S. Open qualifying on Monday seems to have carried over. In this week's PGA Tour event, the RBC Canadian Open, he shot an opening round of 6-under 64 on Thursday and is tied for second place.

One of the first players to make it through U.S. Open sectional qualifying was Charlie Danielson, the former two-time Wisconsin state high school champion from Osceola. Danielson, 25, who was an All-American at Illinois, turned pro in 2016 and had a productive year in 2017, finishing in the top 20 on the Mackenzie (Canadian) Tour money list. But he's been plagued by knee problems since before he was in high school, and his knee was in need of repair again last year. He had to have surgery in July and was out of action for the rest of 2018.

Danielson wasn't expecting to be at full strength until about halfway through 2019, but his recovery seems to be ahead of schedule. He made it through MacKenzie Q-School and has made enough money ($11,475) in three events so far this year to be No. 8 on the Canadian money list. 

On May 20, he played in Dallas in the first of the 12 Open sectionals that were contested this  spring. Like Van Rooyen, he made it on the number, shooting 3-under 67 in the morning round at Northwood Club and following it with a 1-under 70 at Bent Tree CC. He needed one birdie late in the second round to get into a three-way tie for ninth at 137, and he got it at Bent Tree's 16th hole, a 571-yard par-5. That meant a 3-for-2 playoff because there were 102 players vying for 10 spots. Danielson and amateur Austin Eckroat (who plays for Oklahoma State) emerged from the playoff, but the odd man out, Cody Gribble, turned out to be a lucky loser. He was added to the Open field later, when Dallas was granted an extra spot.   


U.S. OPEN SECTIONAL QUALIFYING

927 players trying for 75 spots at the U.S. Open, June 13-16 at Pebble Beach Links in Pebble Beach, Calif. 

(More than 8,600 entrants competed for 500 spots in local qualifying previously) 

Dallas, Texas

May 20

At Brent Tree Country Club (par 71) and Northwood Club (par 70)

102 players for 10 spots


T1. Brandon Todd, Watkinsville, Ga.        65 (N) 66 (B) -- 131

T1. Nick Taylor, Canada                           66 (N) 65 (B)  -- 131

3. Carlos Ortiz, Mexico                             66 (B) 67 (N)  -- 133

4. Julian Etulain, Argentina                      71 (B) 64 (N)   -- 135 (won 3-for-2 playoff)

T9. Charlie Danielson, Osceola            67 (N) 70 (B)   -- 137 (won 3-for-2 playoff)

What it took: 137 (3-way tie for 9th) 

Failed to qualify 

Henry May, Edina                                   76 (N) 75 (B)  -- 151


Columbus, Ohio

June 3

At Scioto Country Club (par 70) and Brookside Golf & Country Club (par 72)

121 for 14 spots


1. Luke Guthrie, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.  64 (B) 67 (S)  -- 131

2. Anirban Lahiri, India                                67 (S) 65 (B)  -- 132

3. Sam Saunders, Atlantic Beach, Fla.       64 (B) 69 (S)  -- 133

4. Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuala                  66 (B) 68 (S)  -- 134

T7. Erik Van Rooyen, South Africa         73 (B) 64 (S)  -- 137

What it took: 137 (8-way tie for 7th)

Charlie Duensing, Sandy, Utah              71 (B) 73 (S)  -- 144

Chris Meyer, Edina                                  71 (B) 75 (S)  -- 146



Rockville, Md. 

June 3

At Woodmont Country Club 

Par 72

63 for 4 spots


T1. Billy Hurley, Annapolis, Md.                 70-71--141

T1. Connor Arendell, Cape Coral, Fla.      70-71--141

T3. Joseph Bramlett, San Jose, Calif.       71-71--142

T3. Ryan Sullivan, Winston-Salem, N.C.  72-70--142

What it took: 142 (2-way tie for 3rd)

Thomas Campbell, Minnetonka              72-74--146


Springfield, Ohio

June 3

At Springfield Country  Club

Par 70

73 for 5 spots


T1. Zac Blair, Orem, Utah                     67-67--134

T1. Chip McDaniel, Manchester, Ky.    68-66--134

T1. Brian Stuard, Jackson, Mich.          66-68--134

T1. Nick Hardy, Northbrook, Ill.             66-68--134

What it took: 134 (4-way tie for 1st) 

Robert Bell, Pierz                                76-63--137

Troy Merritt, Spring Lake Park          72-67--139

Ross Miller, Maple Grove                  76-74--150



Ball Ground, Ga. 

June 3

Hawks Ridge Golf Club

Par 72

67 for 4 spots


T1. Oliver Schniederjans, Alpharetta, Ga.   68-65--133

T1. Noah Norton, Chico, Calif.                     67-66--133

T3. Chandler Eaton (A), Alpharetta, Ga.     69-66--135

T3. Roberto Castro, Atlanta, Ga.                 68-67--135

What it took: 135 (2-way tie for 3rd)

Andrew Israelson, Staples                        80-70--150


Purchase, N.Y. 

June 3

At Century Club (par 71) and Old Oaks Club (par 70)

73 for 4 spots


1. Cameron Young (A), Scarborough, N.Y.   69 (OO) 68 (C)  -- 137

T2. Matt Parziale (A), Brockton, Mass.          69 (C) 73 (OO)  --142

T2. Andy Pope, Glen Ellyn, Ill.                       69 (OO) 73 (C)  --142

4. Rob Oppenheim, Andover, Mass.             72 (OO) 71 (C)  --143

What it took: 143 (solo 4th) 

Alex Kline, Minnetonka                               78-72--150










 













 


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