u.s. open qualifiers ryo ishikawa
U.S. Open Qualifier Ryo Ishikawa looks to find his form at Torrey Pines

A Field Guide to the U.S. Open Qualifiers

Get to know the 40 U.S. Open Qualifiers that don't have PGA Tour status

The Wiz Kids

u.s. open qualifers
Sahith Theegala and Pierceson Coody

Sahith Theegala
Age: 23
College: Pepperdine
Turned professional: 2020
Skinny: A future star. It won’t be long until you see him on Tour. Like many U.S. Open qualifiers, he woke up early on Monday, drove from Columbus to Springfield Country Club, a course he had never seen, and got through. He has
also Monday qualified three times this year on KFT. A three-time All-America, he holds the career
scoring record at Pepperdine.

Pierceson Coody
Age: 21
College: Texas
Turned professional: Amateur
Skinny: Grandson of 1971 Masters champ Charles Coody. Teammate with Cole Hammer, whom he beat
in a three-for-two playoff to grab the last spot in Columbus. He is also teammates at Texas with his twin
brother, Parker. Pierceson won the 2020 Western Amateur. 

Akshay Bhatia
Age: 19
College: None
Turned professional: 2019
Skinny: Played in the qualifier for the Palmetto Championship the day before sectionals and had a
stomach bug. Still got into a playoff for the last spot before losing. Between starts on the PGA Tour has
chased Mondays and played on mini tours, where he has two wins on the Swingthought Tour. This will
be his first major.

Joe Highsmith
Age: 21
College: Pepperdine
Turned professional: Amateur
Skinny: A week after helping Pepperdine to the NCAA title, he won his sectional in Tacoma, Wash.,
where he is from. High school and college teammate RJ Markle is first alternate from this site. Highsmith
is the 54th-ranked amateur in the world. Became the youngest winner of the Washington State Am in
2017 at the age of 17.

Matthias Schmid
Age: 23
College: Louisville
Turned professional: Amateur
Skinny: Just completed his career at Louisville where he finished T27 at the NCAA Championship. In
2020 had a scoring average of 69.91, the second-best in program history.

Andrew Kozan
Age: 22
College: Auburn
Turned professional: Amateur
Skinny: Averaged 71.5 as both a junior and senior year in college. Got through at the Bear’s Club in
Florida, where he is a member. In 2015 won the AJGA event where the winner got an exemption into
the Puerto Rico Open. He shot 73-78 and missed the cut in his only Tour start.

Spencer Ralston
Age: 23
College: Georgia
Turned professional: 2021
Skinny: Played in 43 straight events to start his college career and in 51 of 52 total. He and Greyson Sigg
were teammates at Georgia in 2017. Ranked as high as 20th in World Am Golf Rankings. He birdied his
last hole to move inside the number.

Rings A Bell

u.s. open qualifers justin and alvaro
Justin Suh and Álvaro Ortiz

Ryo Ishiwaka
Age: 29
Country: Japan
Turned professional: 2008
Skinny: Has had an underappreciated career because of his lack of success on the PGA Tour. He won his
first Japan Tour event as an amateur when he was 15. And has 17 wins on that tour. Shot a 58 in 2009
on the Japan Tour. His last win on the tour came in 2019 but he has continued to play well. Blood Type O. 

Steve Allan
Age: 47
Country: Australia
Turned professional: 1996
Skinny: One of the nicest guys I’ve been lucky enough to meet. Won the 1998 German Open on the
European Tour over four players, including Padraig Harrington. Also won the 2002 Holden Australian
Open over Aaron Baddeley, among others. Was ranked in the top 50 in the world at one point in his
career. Has continued to chase Mondays since losing PGA Tour status in 2012. This will be his first major
in 11 years.

Justin Suh
Age: 23
College: USC
Turned professional: 2019
Skinny: Made it through a four-for-two playoff to get to Torrey Pines. Played at Torrey in the Farmers
this year and finished T37, donating half of his check to charities. Is very familiar with Torrey Pines,
having grown up in California and playing up the road at USC. Respected and liked by everyone I have
talked to.

Álvaro Ortiz
Age: 25
College: Arkansas
Turned professional: 2019
Skinny: Younger brother of PGA Tour member Carlos Ortiz. Made the cut at the Masters as an amateur
after winning the Latin American Am. He won the LatinoAmerican Q school, then finished second in his
first event on that tour before Covid shut things down. When the tour restarted, it was at that same
course, and he won again.

Andy Pope
Age: 37
College: Xavier
Turned professional: 2006
Skinny: In the words of Brad Fritsch, ”Death, taxes, and Andy Pope getting through U.S. Open
qualifying.” It’s remarkably the fifth time in the last six tries Pope has advanced to the U.S. Open. He has
made the cut in two of the four. Pope is a decorated Golden Tee expert. He also grew up right down the
street from me, and a couple of years ago I saw him in our neighborhood grocery store. I don’t know
why I put that in this article.

Eric Cole
Age: 32
College: Nova Southeastern
Turned professional: 2009
Skinny: Comes from a decorated golf family. His father, Bobby, made seven U.S Open appearances and
had multiple Sunshine Tour wins. His mother, Laura Baugh, had a very good LPGA career and just this
year attempted to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. Eric has 54 wins on the Minor League Tour. He is
a member of the KFT and had his best finish this season with a T3 at Savannah.

Crazy Qualifiers

u.s. open qualifers barco and cootes
Luis Fernando Barco and Roy Cootes

Wilson Furr
Age: 22
College: Alabama
Turned professional: 2021
Skinny: At the 2020 U.S. Amateur had one of the best rounds in stroke-play history. He shot a courserecord 62 at Bandon Trails, a round that included 11 birdies. It is the second best score in U.S. Amateur
stroke-play history. It marked the fourth time he had qualified for the U.S. Am. He didn’t make it
through Open local qualifying, but he was an alternate, and when four players withdrew from his
sectional site, he got in. The U.S. Open will be his pro debut.

Luis Fernando Barco
Age: 25
College: Purdue
Turned professional: 2019
Skinny: One of the better stories from sectionals — made a quadruple bogey-8 on his first hole of qualifying. He
followed that up with seven consecutive birdies and shot 69. He shot a second-round 69 and advanced
in a 10-for-one playoff. Is the first player from Peru to qualify for the U.S. Open

Roy Cootes
Age: 24
College: Pepperdine
Turned professional: 2019
Skinny: Made a 50-foot bomb on the second playoff hole to get through a four-for-two playoff. Is a
member of Rolling Hills Country Club in California, where the qualifier was played. This will be his first
PGA Tour event. Holds the 11th-best career scoring average in Pepperdine history.

You Love To See It

us open qualifiers
Hayden Springer and Kyle Westmoreland

Hayden Springer
Age: 24
College: TCU
Turned professional: 2019
Skinny: A family story of perseverance that you will hear much more about this year. His wife Emma and their daughter Sage, who has Trisomy 18 are an amazing family. Their story and fight will be one that you won’t want to miss. 

Kyle Westmoreland
Age: 32
College: Air Force Academy
Turned professional: 2020
Skinny: Will be the first Air Force Veteran to tee it up at a major. He thought he would be stationed for
two years after the Academy but didn’t get his release until his fifth year. After turning pro, he Mondayqualified in his first attempt on KFT.

Grinders

Chan Kim and Johannes Veerman

Johannes Veerman
Age: 29
College: Texas A&M
Turned professional: 2015
Skinny: Has played in 53 European Tour and 65 Asian Tour events. Studied medicine in college and had
the intention of being a doctor before professional golf became an option. As a kid had a fireworks
accident that blew off his thumb before doctors reattached it. After qualifying, he flew to Poland for a
Euro event, arriving Thursday morning for his afternoon tee time. His clubs didn’t make it so he used
borrowed clubs.

Taylor Pendrith
Age: 30
College: Kent State
Turned professional: 2014
Skinny: Has battled injuries throughout his career, but when healthy one of the better players on
whatever tour he has competed on. Has four runner-up finishes this season on the KFT, including three
consecutive. Sits fourth in KF points, so he will be headed to the Tour next season. He played in the U.S.
Open at Winged Foot last year based on his points standing on the KFT and finished T23

Chan Kim
Age: 31
College: Arizona State
Turned professional: 2010
Skinny: Played on the Canadian Tour, the Challenge Tour and the Asian Tour before going to the Japan
Tour in 2015. He has played on that tour mainly since then and has five wins, including three in 2017. He
is 82nd in the world rankings. He made the cut on the number at the PGA Championship last month by
making an 8-footer on the last hole. He lives in Arizona during the Japan Tour offseason and plays some
Mondays here occasionally.

Rick Lamb
Age: 30
College: Tennessee
Turned professional: 2014
Skinny: Lamb is the last player to win a KFT event after Monday qualifying — at the 2016 LECOM, where
he triumphed in a four-way playoff. This will be his first major championship. Has an identical twin who
used to play professionally. Told me a funny story related to that. He ordered a new putter. It arrived
but there was a problem: The club was right-handed. Rick plays left-handed. He gave it to his brother,
who still uses it to this day.

Chris Crawford
Age: 27
College: Drexel
Turned professional: 2017
Skinny: This will be his third PGA Tour start. All have come in the U.S, Open. In 2016 he made a 40-foot
bomb on the last hole to qualify. This year he had to two-putt from 40 feet on the last and did. At the
2016 U.S. Amateur he disqualified himself after the local caddie he was using had the slope on his range
finder turned on.

Michael Johnson
Age: 27
College: Auburn
Turned professional: 2016
Skinny: I love when players have so much confidence that they pick Columbus, Ohio, as their site for
sectionals. Basically a bunch of Tour stars and Johnson got through there (along with amateur Pierceson
Coody of Texas), but I love to see it. Johnson won an Emerald Coast Tour event this year by … 15 shots.
That is impressive, no matter the tour.

Carson Schaake
Age: 27
College: Iowa
Turned professional: 2017
Skinny: Had a solid college career, including a 72.0 scoring average his senior year. Won on the Outlaw
Tour last year early in the pandemic, shooting 25 under in three rounds. Yes, 25 under in three rounds.
Also has a win on the Dakotas Tour. Has one career PGA Tour start and one career KFT start. Won backto-back state titles in high school.

Others Worth Rooting For

u.s.-open-qualifiers
Dylan Meyer and Matthew Sharpstene

Luis Gagne
Age: 23
College: LSU
Turned professional: 2019
Skinny: This marks the third consecutive time Gagne has qualified. Played at Shinnecock in 2018 and got
through the local qualifying in a unique way. Both he and Christian DiMarco thought they didn’t have a
chance to get through, so they had both left. They weren’t able to get back for a playoff, so Gagne
advanced … on a coin flip. He also played in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. His 71.51 scoring
average is the second-best ever at LSU. Gagne opened with a 70 in the second stage of Q school in 2019
but forgot to sign his scorecard before leaving the scoring area, resulting in a DQ.

Davis Shore
Age: 22
College: Alabama
Turned professional: 2021
Skinny: Was the No. 3 ranked junior in the country before arriving in Tuscaloosa but struggled with
injuries in college. He had back problems as a freshman and hip issues as a sophomore. After many
attempts to correct it with rest and yoga, an MRI revealed a torn labrum. He attempted to finish out the
season by taking cortisone shots before finally having surgery. He will make his pro debut at Torrey
Pines.

Hayden Buckley
Age: 25
College: Missouri
Turned professional: 2018
Skinny: He’s 34th in KFT points on the strength of winning the first event of 2021. Buckley was the first
alternate Thursday morning and got in after Austen Truslow slammed his hand in his trunk. Also has an
interesting story of how he got to Missouri as coach Mark Leroux offered him a scholarship without ever
seeing him swing. Chris Harder, Buckley’s high school and swing coach, had a relationship with Leroux
and vouched for Buckley, who became an All-American.

Greyson Sigg
Age: 26
College: Georgia
Turned professional: 2016
Skinny: Sigg is having a remarkably consistent extended season on the Korn Ferry Tour. In 28 starts he
has 17 top 25s, including a win. He sits third in points. Started the season with 11 consecutive made
cuts. Also has a top 10 on the PGA Tour this year with a T9 at the Puerto Rico Open. Has only missed 13
cuts in 68 events across PGA, KFT and Forme Tour.

Dylan Wu
Age: 24
College: Northwestern
Turned professional: 2018
Skinny: I talked with him after he qualified and asked him if he thought about skipping qualifying
because he is 28th in KFT points. (The top 25 get their PGA Tour card.) “No, not really,” he replied.
“Maybe if I played well in Wichita (the KFT event played during U.S. Open week) I would, but I really
haven’t. Also. it’s the U.S. Open. I can’t pass up a chance to play.” Was one of the most dominant players
in Northwestern golf history.

Cameron Young
Age: 24
College: Wake Forest
Turned professional: 2019
Skinny: May win the U.S. Open. End of story.

James Hervol
Age: 23
College: Connecticut
Turned professional: 2019
Skinny: Shot a 60 on the Minor League Tour that included a ball out of bounds on the last hole. He shot
a 27 on the opening nine and came to the last needing a par for 59. He did make “birdie” with his
second ball, resulting in a bogey. Played in every event for the last three years at UConn and had one of
the most decorated careers in program history.

Zach Zaback
Age: 26
College: Connecticut
Turned professional: 2017
Skinny: The guy just loves to play golf. This year after missing in a Monday Q playoff that finished
Tuesday morning, he jumped in his car and drove an hour to his tee time on the Minor League Tour. He
shot a course-record 61 to win. After Monday-qualifying for the Honda Classic, that night he went to a
Drive Shock (TopGolf type) and won a tournament.

Dylan Meyer
Age: 25
College: Illinois
Turned professional: 2018
Skinny: Meyer made his professional debut at the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock and finished T20. He
is really playing well of late, with two successful Monday qualifiers and now this. Meyer suffers from
ulcerative colitis, but his health appears to be in great shape. Meyer is intense on the course and is fun
to watch. I hope he gets in contention at Torrey Pines because it would make for great TV.

Rikuya Hoshino
Age: 25
Country: Japan
Turned professional: 2016
Skinny: Has five Japan Tour wins, including two this season. In April he shot a closing 69 to beat the
above-mentioned Chan Kim by one stroke for his fourth career win. And last month he won again. He is
the Order of Merit leader on the Japan Tour this season. Ranked 77th in the world. The Japan Tour site
has some great random stats, and here is one. Rikuya goes for the green on par-5s in two only 19.2
percent of the time.

Taylor Montgomery
Age: 26
College: UNLV
Turned professional: 2017
Skinny: Montgomery is 23rd in KFT points. Talked with his caddie, Redford Bobbitt, about their day.
After finishing around 6:30 p.m. PT, Montgomery refreshed his phone about 6,807 times over the next
two hours to see if he would be in a playoff. At 8:30 p.m. he was officially in the Open, so he began the
drive from southern California to Las Vegas. He arrived at 1 a.m., then got a 3:30 wakeup call for his 6
a.m. flight to South Carolina for the KFT event.

Matthew Sharpstene
Age: 23
College: Charlotte
Turned professional: Amateur
Skinny: Was exempt into sectional qualifying after getting to the semifinals of 2020 U.S. Amateur.
Transferred to Charlotte after three years at West Virginia. His run in the U.S. Am was unexpected. He
was ranked 394th in the world and made the stroke-play cut by one in his first U.S. Amateur.

Mario Carmona
Age: 25
College: Rice University
Turned professional: 2018
Skinny: Played the Latin American Tour in 2019, finishing 128th on the money list. Has been working a
job in the financial field for a while but has been back playing. Played with former U.S. Open champion
Graeme McDowell in qualifying. Averaged 72.58 as a senior at Rice.

Paul Barjon
Age: 28
College: TCU
Turned professional: 2016
Skinny: Is eighth on Korn Ferry Tour points and has a win. Had a great season on Mackenzie Tour in 2019
when he had two wins, a runner-up, and finished atop the money list. Originally from France.

Yosuke Asaji
Age: 28
Country: Japan
Turned professional: 2011
Skinny: Ranked 326th in the world. Has two Japan Tour wins, both in 2019.This will be his first PGA Tour
event and his first event outside of Japan. Blood Type A. 

–Ryan French

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