SOUTHERN PINES, NC – By Craig Distl - National Golf Club has been chosen to host local qualifying for the 2004 U.S. Open. A field of about 100 professionals and elite amateurs will tee it up May 17 at National with the goal of advancing to 36-hole sectional qualifying June 7-8.
National considers it a privilege to be among 107 sites nationwide chosen to host local qualifying for our country’s national championship.
“The USGA feels National is a good venue to host this event,” said Tom Parsons, National’s director of golf. “This is a golf course that will separate the better players. Every hole is different and unique, and the greens are severe, similar to what you see at a U.S. Open venue.”
Parsons expects the course to be in excellent shape thanks to a warm spring and several minor improvements projects completed in 2003.
This is the fourth high-profile event National has hosted in recent years. The 7,122-yard Jack Nicklaus layout hosted the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying in 2001 and 2002, as well as the National Senior Patriot Pro-Am last October, which brought a talented field of senior pros.
“We thought it would be nice to bring another event to National to expose the golf course to some of the best players in the country,” said Parsons.
The field at National will be predominantly professionals, many of whom live in, or have ties to, the Carolinas. There’s a possibility of seeing one or two big-name professionals who’ve lost their exemptions into the U.S. Open and will attempt to go through qualifying.
National is one of three sites in North Carolina hosting Open qualifying. The others are River Landing in Wallace and River Run in Davidson.
Those who advance through local and sectional qualifying (13 sites) will earn spots in the 104th U.S. Open, June 17-20 at the famed Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y.Local qualifying at National will be open to the public. For information, please call National Golf Club at (910) 295-5340.