Former North Texas golfer Carlos Ortiz of Mexico found his game at just the right time Monday and qualified for his first major at the U.S. Open.
Ortiz had made only two cuts in the past three months on the PGA Tour. In Columbus, Ohio, in the strongest qualifying field of mainly tour players, the 25-year-old from Mexico shot 66-66 on different courses to lead 13 qualifiers in Ohio.
In Memphis, Tenn., former TCU standout Tom Hoge shot 67-67 for a 134 total to qualify third among 10 U.S. Open qualifiers. He qualified for the second straight year.
TCU alum and Fort Worth resident J.J. Henry qualified in Memphis with 67-68 rounds.
Ryan Palmer missed the playoff in Tennessee by one shot, though his U.S. Open hopes are still alive. Palmer is No. 62 in the world, and likely will crack the top 60 to get into Oakmont if he can finish in the top 10 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic this weekend in Memphis.
Fort Worth resident Martin Piller was well back in Ohio, going 71-73.
U.S. Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau, who gave up his exemption to the U.S. Open when he turned pro after the Masters, shot a 63 at Wedgewood and also advanced along with Brendan Steele, Kevin Streelman, Spencer Levin, Wes Short, Jason Kokrak and Ethan Tracy.
In the other Ohio qualifier in Springfield, where only four spots were available, three of them went to college players. Illinois teammates Charlie Danielson and Nick Hardy got through, as did Kyle Mueller of Michigan.
Oregon sophomore Aaron Wise capped off a week he won’t forget — an NCAA title a week ago Monday, Oregon’s first team title two days later and then he was medalist in the Vancouver, Wash., qualifier to get into his first U.S. Open.
The USGA held back six spots for those who might move into the top 60 in the world ranking next week and qualify, such as Memorial winner William McGirt at No. 44.
The other strong qualifier filled with tour players was in Tennessee, not far from the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Among the 10 who qualified was 49-year-old David Toms, who will be competing in his 19th U.S. Open. Toms never shot worse than 73 at Oakmont in the 2007 U.S. Open and tied for fifth.
D.J. Trahan and Andres Gonzales shared medalist honors, with Trahan posting a 62 at Ridgeway in his second round. The final three spots came from a six-man playoff, with Whee Kim, Sunghoon Kang and LSU golfer Sam Burns making it through.
In other qualifiers:
▪ Shell Houston Open winner Jim Herman and 36-year-old tour rookie Rob Oppenheim were among six qualifiers at Canoe Brook in New Jersey.
▪ Ryan Stachler, who just finished his sophomore year at South Carolina, was among three qualifiers outside Atlanta.
▪ Billy Hurley had rounds of 67-68 to lead the three qualifiers from Woodmont in the Maryland sectional. Also qualifying was Denny McCarthy, who played on the Walker Cup team last year.
▪ Kevin Tway, the son of 1986 PGA champion Bob Tway, was among three qualifiers in Houston.
▪ In the San Francisco qualifier, USC freshman Justin Suh was among six qualifiers, four of whom also made it through 18-hole qualifying.