GOLF: PGA Tour golfers, rising stars claim U.S. Open berths at Long Cove

If you’re wondering just how tough the competition was at the one-day 36-hole U.S. Open Final Qualifying event at Long Cove Club on Monday, two guys who have left Hilton Head Island with tartan jackets and one who owns a FedExCup championship were among those who didn’t make the cut. 

PGA Tour golfers John Huh, Sam Ryder, and J.J. Spaun, and up-and-coming stars Wilson Furr and Akshay Bhatia claimed the five qualifying spots on the line. Huh, Ryder, Furr, and Spaun each shot 5-under-par 137 over a long day to punch their tickets to Torrey Pines next week, with Bhatia winning a playoff at 4-under to edge out alternates Zack Sucher and Ben Martin for the final spot.

The 19-year-old Bhatia set the pace in the first round with a blistering 6-under 65 that featured four birdies and an eagle at the par-5 6th and held on with a 73 that included a pair of double bogeys. Huh and Furr each opened with 67s and closed with 70s, while Ryder shot a mirror-image 70-67, and Spaun followed his 66 with a round of even par.

Past RBC Heritage champions Satoshi Kodaira (69-73) and Brandt Snedeker (71-72) were among those who missed the cut, along with former Hilton Head Island resident D.J. Trahan (72-71), South Carolina native Bill Haas (74-73), and Hilton Head Christian Academy star Max Green (80-78), who competed as an amateur. 

Huh, Ryder, and Spaun are all in the field for the Palmetto Championship at Congaree beginning Thursday in Ridgeland. 

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