15-year old Cole Hammer headed to U.S. Open

Youth was served during Monday’s sectional qualifier in Dallas, with 15-year-old Cole Hammer grabbing one of six spots available to compete in the 2015 U.S. Open, June 18-21 at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

Hammer, who just completed his freshman year at the Kinkaid School in Houston, posted rounds of 64 and 68 at Northwood Club to finish second in the qualifier at 8-under-par and secure a notable spot in tournament history.

Hammer, who will not turn 16 until Aug. 28, becomes the third-youngest player to earn a berth in the U.S. Open, behind Andy Zhang (14 years, 6 months in 2012) and Tadd Fujikawa (15 years, 5 months, 7 days in 2006).

Hammer finished one stroke behind Mark Silvers, a Tour competitor, for medalist honors in Dallas. The other qualifiers finished in a four-player group at 6-under: touring pros Cody Gribble and Jason Allred, as well as amateurs Matt Mabrey and Kyle Jones.

Gribble, a teammate of Masters champion Jordan Spieth on Texas’ 2012 NCAA championship team, finished 21st in last year’s U.S. Open and competed as a Champions’ Choice invitee in last month’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

But the breakthrough performance of the qualifier belonged to Hammer, who put himself in position with a bogey-free 64 to begin his 36-hole journey and followed with a 68 in the afternoon session. Although he still has three years remaining in high school, Hammer has committed to play college golf at Texas.

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch