A clutch eagle hole-out, an NHL ref and more: The best stories from Monday's U.S. Open sectional qualifying

A clutch eagle hole-out, an NHL ref and more: The best stories from Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifying

The longest day in golf, a.k.a. sectional qualifying Monday for the U.S. Open, is finally complete. What started in Surrey, England, ended in Portland, Ore., nearly 24 hours later. As is always the case, plenty of good stories arose from the 36-hole slog. For complete results, click here.

Playoff Madness

The Memphis qualifier, located not far from this week’s PGA Tour stop, is always a popular one for Tour pros. Such was the case again this week, and a stacked field often leaves us with several great players vying for just a few spots. This year it was 11 hopefuls playing off for the last three spots available. Recent Tour winner Aaron Wise and Matt Jones made birdies to move on, while Eric Axley holed out for eagle from the rough to punch his ticket in what was easily the most exciting qualifier.

Scott’s Streak Alive

Much of the last month, Adam Scott was asked about how he planned to qualify for this year’s U.S. Open. Failing to do so with World Ranking points, Scott resorted to the Columbus qualifier, where he advanced on the number, ensuring he will play in his 68th consecutive major.

New York Strip?

Beef is coming to Long Island. Andrew Johnston tied for first in the Walton Heath qualifier in England after shooting 10 under in his two rounds. We all can remember the last time Beef was in the Tri-State area, right?

Rank’s Rink

One name you’ll see at Shinnecock is Garrett Rank, an amateur from Canada who finished tied for first in the Roswell, Ga., qualifier. What you won’t know — well until it’s surely discussed on the broadcast next week — is that rank is an NHL ref. He just happens to also be very good at golf.

Flip It

Just a few weeks ago, the playoff of a local qualifier came down to a coin flip after the two players who were tied had vacated the scene. Luis Gagne was one of those players, and he won the coin flip against Cristian DiMarco (son of Chris DiMarco) to advance to sectionals. That coin flip proved to be all Gagne needed — well, that and 11 birdies Monday — to finish as medalist at the Jupiter, Fla., qualifier. Entering the sectional field as an alternate, DiMarco also played well and is the second alternate for Shinnecock from Jupiter after losing a 6-for-1 playoff.