Running Down a Dream: Four Rounds, Two Top Amateurs, Many Good Stores

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Running Down a Dream: Four Rounds, Two Top Amateurs, Many Good Stores

All a competitive golfer ever wants is a chance to prove he can play against the best.

The U.S. Open gives every golfer that chance.

In four days, three golfers finished in the Top-25. Two finished tied for the low-amateur total score.

But that wasn't all the drama.

A couple, Shaun Micheel and Erik Compton, thanked the golf gods for every stroke they played.

Others, Jason Gore and Ty Tryon, may have redeemed a career in dramatic fashion.

How did they get to this point?

Starting in May, anyone with a USGA Handicap under 1.4 can enter one of the 111 local qualifying tournaments.

If the golfer advances, they compete in a 36-hole sectional qualifier, played at 13 sites in the United States, on June 7-8.

A golfer must play a solid two rounds of golf here. And most of the time, it isn’t against local Country Club Pros.

It’s against professional golfers around the world.

That’s because only 78 of the 156 players in the U.S. Open field are exempt from qualifying.

Those players, according to Steve Silverman of, are individuals who have either won the U.S. Open in the previous 10 years, won the Masters, British Open or PGA Tournament in previous five years.

The other automatic qualifiers either finished Top 30 on PGA money list in the previous year, finished in the Top 15 on the European Tour in the previous year, or ranked in the Top 50 of the official World Golf Rankings two weeks prior to the tournament.

Because the tournament is “open” it allows for many golfers to come out of nowhere and compete for golf’s toughest title.

That’s the beauty of the U.S. Open.

Not only is it the toughest challenge on the course, but guys like Lucas Glover, 2009 champion, and Rocco Mediate, 2008 runner-up, can turn a “weekend at the golf course” into the American Dream.

This year, there are a few golfers who went through the qualifying ringer and are looking to redeem a career, or start one with a bang.

Here are their stories.

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