On Monday, March 4th, the USGA (United States Golf Association) announced qualifying sites for three of its 2013 championships; golfers in the Bay Area/Central Coast region will have a number of opportunities to qualify for the U.S. Open, the U.S. Women’s Open, and the U.S. Senior Open.
Qualifying for the USGA’s “Ultimate Test”– the U.S. Open
The United States Open is one of golf’s Big Four – the four major championship tournaments that are the ultimate goal for top-tier golfers all over the world– and for 2013 it is returning to an historic venue, Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Merion has hosted the Open on four previous occasions: 1934, 1950, 1971, and 1981. The 1950 U.S. Open at Merion was witness to one of the finest golf shots ever struck – Ben Hogan’s 1-iron to the green on the 72nd hole of the tournament, a shot which set up the par finish that put him in a three-way playoff with George Fazio and Lloyd Mangrum on the next day, which Hogan won.
Due to the high demand for qualifying opportunities for the USGA’s premier championship, qualifying for this tournament goes through two stages – local and regional qualifying. There are one hundred eleven local qualifying tournaments held across the country between May 3rd and May 16th, and thirteen regional qualifying tournaments, with two overseas locations – England & Japan – to accommodate players from the European and Asian tours, and eleven in the United States.
Here in the Bay Area and Central Coast region, local qualifying tournaments will be held at Almaden Country Club, in San José, on Monday, May 6th; Half Moon Bay Golf Links, on Wednesday, May 8th; and Pleasanton’s Ruby Hill Golf Club, on Monday May 13th.
Additional local qualifying sites in Northern California, but outside of the Bay Area, are Chico’s Butte Creek Country Club, and Sunnyside Country Club in Fresno, both on May 6th.
Regional qualifying for California and the Southwest, which was hosted jointly last year by Lake Merced Golf Club and Harding Park Golf Course, will this year be held in the Southern California region, jointly-hosted by Big Canyon Country Club and Newport Beach Country Club. Big Canyon C.C. will be the site of the 2014 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, so their stint at hosting this regional qualifier for the U.S. Open will be a good tune-up for the club.
Qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open
The 2013 U.S. Women’s Open will be held at Sebonack Golf Club in Southhampton, New York, July 27 – 30. The lower demand for qualifying opportunities for the U.S. Women’s Open dictates a single-tier qualifying process, requiring only regional qualifying. The qualifying tournaments for the Women’s Open will be held at twenty locations across the United States between May 7th and May 30th, with three sites in California.
Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City, host of last year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship, as well as regional qualifying for the 2012 Men’s U.S. Open, will this year play host to a regional qualifying tournament for the Women’s Open, on Monday, May 20th. The Daly City club has a long tradition of supporting competitive golf at the professional and amateur levels, and honors this commitment by making their facility available for USGA competitions.
The other two California qualifying sites for the U.S. Women’s Open are in Southern California, at Oak Valley Golf Club in Beaumont, on May 7th; and Industry Hills Golf Club, in City of Industry, on May 28th.
U.S. Senior Open qualifying
The U.S. Senior Open provides an opportunity for age 50+ golfers to compete for a national championship title; this year the tournament will be held at Omaha Country Club, in Omaha, Nebraska, July 11th – 14th. Thirty-four sectional qualifying tournaments will be held for prospective competitors; of the four to be held in California, two will be at sites in the Bay Area and Central Coast region – Green Valley Country Club, near Fairfield, and Corral De Tierra Country Club, in Salinas. Both local qualifiers are scheduled for June 24th.