PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., USA – PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s level is getting higher and one example is the 2014 U.S.Open, where there will be at least five members of our Tour playing at Pinehurst.
At Sectional Qualifiers that were played Monday throughout the United States, Colombian Andres Echavarria , Australian Brady Watt and Americans Ryan Blaum, Zac Blair and Cody Gribble got their places in the second major of the year. Four other players are waiting as alternates. They are Will Kropp , Armando Favela , Sebastian MacLean and Bronson Burgoon.
Echavarria, who last year had been on the verge of qualifying but lost his spot in a playoff, could fulfill his dream of qualifying for a major championship. He played at Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach, Florida and after rounds of 70 and 71, got one of the four spots. “Very happy to have qualified for my first Major,” he said on his Twitter account. He has played in 23 PGA TOUR Latinoamerica tournaments and has nine top-10 finishes in three seasons.
Blaum, the winner of the Order of Merit in 2013, showed his talent in Columbus, Ohio, where he participated in one of the qualifiers that had more players who regularly play on the PGA TOUR. He finished in 14th place at the venue that gave 16 spots to the U.S. Open. Blaum won two events in Latin America in 2013 and he ranks 19th on the money list in the 2014 season of the Web.com Tour.
Blair was medalist at the qualifier at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Creswell, Oregon after rounds of 69 and 68 to achieve one of the two places that were available. The 23-year-old reached this stage after having three top- 6 finishes in the last four events of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. He has made six of seven cuts in his first season on the Tour.
Blair completed his big day by holing a wedge from 40 yards for birdie on the final hole.
Gribble had a fantastic second round of 65 at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tennessee, which left him in 8th place at the venue that gave 13 spots for the U.S. Open. Gribble has played six events in 2014 with two top-25 finishes and has made four of six cuts.
Watt also celebrated in Memphis after playing in a playoff for two spots with four other players. Watt has top-20 finishes in his last two events at the end of the first season, which allowed him to become a member of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in the second half of the year.
Four other players will be alternates and will be watching what happens in the upcoming days to see if they can complete the field at the U.S. Open. They are Will Kropp, who missed the playoff for one of the three places in Houston, Texas, Armando Favela who finished 7th in Daly City, California, Sebastian MacLean who tied for 5th place in Vero Beach, Florida and Bronson Burgoon who finished 4th in Houston, Texas.
Source PGA Tour