Georgia star Henley headed to U.S. Open

Georgia golfer Russell Henley earned a spot in the U.S. Open a day after his team lost to Augusta State in the NCAA title match.

In a day's time, University of Georgia golfer Russell Henley went from the disappointment of losing the NCAA Division I Championship to the excitement of earning a spot in the U.S. Open later this month.


Henley, a senior on the Georgia team that lost to Augusta State in the match-play final on Sunday in Stillwater, Okla., played in a 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifier on Monday in Ball Ground, Ga.

After 36 holes at Hawks Ridge Golf Club, Henley (68-65) and PGA Tour player Jason Dufner (69-64) were tied for the third and final spot at 133.

Henley, the low amateur in last year's U.S. Open, beat Dufner with a birdie on the fourth hole of sudden death to qualify.

Four players with Augusta-area ties teed it up Monday's sectional at Hawks Ridge, but none of them came close to making the top three or being an alternate.

Blake Adams, of Swainsboro, Ga., tied for 13th (68-70--138), Will Claxton, also of Swainsboro, tied for 17th (72-68--140) with Aiken's Dane Burkhart (67-73--140). Georgia's Brian Carter, of Evans, tied for 37th place (78-69--147).

Brett Patterson (70-62) and Ryan Nelson (66-66) tied for first.

- In Memphis, Tenn., former Louisville, Ga., resident and PGA Tour winner Brian Gay earned a spot in a sudden-death playoff. Sergio Garcia, who said he wouldn't go through qualifying, changed his mind and got one of the spots in the playoff.

- In Columbus, Ohio, another college golfer, Patrick Cantlay, made the field for his first U.S. Open while 1996 winner Steve Jones came up short. UCLA star Cantlay (65-70--135) qualified.

- In Rockville, Md., three-time PGA Tour winner Kirk Triplett shot rounds of 69 and 64 to lead the qualifiers.

Fred Funk shot rounds of 67 and 68 to earn a spot.

- In Vero Beach, Fla., Sam Saunders, who is Arnold Palmer's grandson, earned a spot, surviving a three-for-two playoff at Quail Valley Golf Club.

- At the Dallas Athletic Club, former British Open champion Todd Hamilton earned one of four spots.

The U.S. Open will be played at Congressional in Bethesda, Md., on June 16-19.