• John Patota

So you're saying there's a chance

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

13 Amateurs qualify for the U.S. Open Pinehurst, NC (Sept. 16, 2020)

It's September. The much-anticipated start of our nation's golf championship is set to tee off tomorrow from Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaronick, New York, a 42 minute train ride from the City.

Of the 156 players that qualified, only 13 are amateurs.

In the 120 year history of the U.S. Open, only 5 amateurs have gone on to win, the last in 1933.

But don't tell that to Andy Ogletree, John Augentstein, Ricky Castillo or John Pak. All will be making their first appearance in a U.S. Open and all have ties to Pinehurst, N.C.

Andy Ogletree hugs his caddie on the 17th green of Pinehurst No. 2 after winning he 2019 U.S. Amateur in Pinehurst, N.C. By virtue of his win, he qualified to play on the 2020 U.S. Open. (Photo John Patota)

Normally, professionals and amateurs with a handicap index of 1.4 or lower can play their way into the field, either by playing in qualifying events held across the world or by earning exemptions based on rankings or tournament finishes. Of course, normally the U.S. Open is played in June. But, I don’t have to tell you, this is not a normal year. Heck, the United States Golf Association was thinking of canceling it!

Because of Covd-19, the USGA suspended all qualifying events. Instead, every player that made the field was considered exempt. Past winners, runner-ups and world rankings - you get the idea. Now back to the amateurs.

Georgia Tech senior, Andy Ogletree qualified for the U.S. Open field by virtual of his win at the 2019 U.S. Open in Pinehurst. What did Ogletree do after his win in Pinehust?

He only made the Walker Cup team, and traveled to the United Kindom to win the cup for the American against a strong field players from Great Britain and Ireland. And how about John Augenstein? Remember, he finished 2nd at he U.S. AM in Pinehurst. Yup, he’s in the U.S. Open too. Oh ya, Augenstein played great for the Walker Cup team too.

John Augenstein plays a shot on Pinehurst No.2 during the Finals of the 2019 U.S. Amateur held in Pinehurst, N.C. Augenstein will make his first appearance in the U.S. Open this week. (Photo: John Patota)

So is University of Florida freshman All-American, Ricky Castillo. He made it in the field by being No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Castillo did not have a great showing in Pinehurst last summer, but loved playing Pinehurst No. 2.

Ricky Castillo, with his father on the bag, play Pinehurst No. 2 during the 2019 U.S. Amateur. (Photo John Patota)

Then there is John Pak. The Florida State All-American is ranked 7th world ranking, and like Ogletree and Augenstein helped the U.S. win the Walker Cup year ago. Pak made it to the Round of 32 in the 2019 U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2.

John Pak, playing Pinehurst No. 2 during the 2019 U.S. Amateur. Pak made it to the Round of 32 before falling to the eventual runner-up, John Augenstein. (Photo By John Patota)

Good luck guys, play well! Here is a link to a complete list of everyone that will be playing in the U.S. Open starting tomorrow. US Open Exempt List See all my photos of the 2019 U.S. Amateur

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