Two Tiger Alums Qualify for U.S. Open
BATON ROUGE – After helping lead the Tigers into the NCAA Semifinals at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships a week ago, senior Smylie Kaufman joined LSU great David Toms in earning a spot in the field for the 114th United States Open Championship next week during Monday’s sectional qualifying held across the Southeast.
This year’s U.S. Open will return to the historic course at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, North Carolina, as the course will play host to the event for the third time in its history from June 12-15.
Kaufman qualified with a second-place at Ansley Golf Club in Roswell, Georgia, and Toms earned his spot in the field by tying for third place at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tennessee. It will mark the second time in three seasons that two Tigers will tee it up at the U.S. Open after Toms and 2011 NCAA Champion John Peterson tied for fourth place in the 112th U.S. Open in 2012.
Kaufman carried his momentum from the collegiate season into Monday’s sectional qualifier as he fired a 36-hole score of 2-under par 142 at the par-72 Settindown Creek Course at Ansley Golf Club.
He held the top spot in the field of 31 players in the first round after opening the event with a 5-under 67 in the morning, before returning to post a 3-over 75 in the second round in the afternoon to wrap up the day in second place. Former Augusta State All-American Henrik Norlander took the top spot in the sectional field with a winning score of 4-under 140.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Kaufman continues an exceptional spring season that saw him finish as this year’s SEC runner-up with a second-place finish at the SEC Championship before tying for sixth place as the top Tiger at the NCAA Columbia Regional to lead the team into the NCAA Championships. That’s where the Tigers made history with their run to the Final Four as they tied for second place in stroke play before earning a spot in the NCAA semifinals of match play to earn their best NCAA finish since 1967.
Kaufman will make his major championship debut at the U.S. Open next week as an LSU alumnus after graduating following the 2014 spring semester with his degree in marketing.
While Kaufman will be making his first career appearance at the U.S. Open, Toms will tee it up in the event for the 16th-straight season and the 18th time in his illustrious PGA TOUR career. Toms has taken home a trio of top-five finishes in the event as he tied for fifth place in 2003 and 2007 before tying Peterson for fourth place for his best career U.S. Open finish in 2012.
Toms was one of 13 qualifiers in a field of 145 players in the sectional qualifier at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tennessee, as he had rounds of 5-under 66 at the North Course and a 3-under 69 at the South Course for a 36-hole score of 8-under par 135 to tie for third place on the leaderboard.
Kaufman and Toms were two of six current and former LSU Tigers to tee it up in four different sectional qualifiers on Monday hoping to earn a spot in the field for this year’s U.S. Open Championship.
Junior All-SEC performer and All-American standout Curtis Thompson nearly earned his spot in the U.S. Open field when he cracked the Top 10 by tying for seventh place overall in the sectional qualifier held Monday in Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida. Thompson followed a 4-over 76 in the first round with a 4-under 68 in the second round to finish two shots outside of qualification with an even-par 144 for the day.
Tiger freshman Eric Ricard tied for 36th place in the qualifier held at Lakeside Country Club in Houston, Texas, with a 36-hole score of 4-over par 148, including rounds of 3-over 75 and 1-over 73.
After making back-to-back appearances at the U.S. Open in 2012 and 2013, Peterson’s run will come to an end after tying for 66th place at 2-over par 145 while also playing in the sectional qualifier at Colonial Golf Club in Memphis. A third former Tiger All-American was also in the field as Andrew Loupe tied Peterson for 66th place in the event.