LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Like 54 other golfers, 48-year old Javier Quevedo came to the New Mexico State Golf Course Tuesday with a dream.
“Well, making it to the US Open," said Quevedo, who played in amateur professional tournaments as a kid. "Especially at Torrey Pines.”
After his top three finish in the Tuesday's US Open local qualifier in Las Cruces, Javier’s dream is still alive.
The road to famed Torrey Pines, site of this year’s major tournament, starts at these local and sectional qualifiers. Las Cruces was one of 109 courses nationally hosting a local qualifier.
Winning the US Open as a qualifier is a longshot, but it has been done. Only two golfers, Ken Venturi in 1964 and Orville Moody in 1969 have ever won the US Open after qualifying through the local and sectional round.
But regardless, the United States Golf Association leaves a window of opportunity open. From regular club guys to local college players, everyone starts with the same chance at a major.
Two local college players took full advantage of the qualifier. New Mexico State freshman Steven Strasheim won the event with a score of -6, and UTEP junior Greg Yellin also qualfied for the sectional round finishing at -4.
“That’s what’s great about the US Open, anybody can sign up and player their way into it,” said Yellin, who saw his season with UTEP end last week in the Conference Tournament.
But the road to Torrey Pines is not yet complete, as a much more competitive sectional round awaits.
Sectional rounds are divided into 11 sites. Nine will be conducted at U.S. sites on Monday, June 7, with one additionally American qualifier being played Monday, May 24. Japan also will host a sectional qualifier on May 24.
From those 11 sites combined, the top 10 aggregate scorers will earn an invitation to the 121st US Open in San Diego, June 17-20.