Road to Merion: U.S. Open Spots on the Line for Joel Sjoholm and Ty Harris
Sjoholm will get the first chance in a 36-hole qualifier on Monday at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England. Walton Heath is one of two international sectional qualifying sites; the other site is Ohtone Country Club's West Course in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.
Some of the top European Tour players expected to compete at Walton Heath include 2005 U.S. Amateur champion Edoardo Molinari of Italy, who won his title at Merion Golf Club. Other notables who are currently in the field are past American Ryder Cup member Woody Austin, Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, England's Paul Casey, reigning British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar of Ireland, who turned professional after the Masters, teenager Matteo Manassero of Italy, World Golf Hall of Famer Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, past Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain, 2006 U.S. Amateur champion Richie Ramsey of Scotland, and 2010 U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein of the United States.
Sjoholm became Georgia State’s first-ever first team All-American in 2008 following a 13th place finish at the NCAA National Championship. Last year, he finished 66th on the European PGA Tour Money List with four top ten finishes, earning more than 400,000 euros.
Harris still has just over a week before his 36-hole sectional qualifier at Old Oaks Country Club and Century Country Club in Purchase, N.Y., June 3.
Whereas Sjoholm was exempt from local qualifying due to his status on tour, Harris had to survive an 18-hole local qualifier at Lake Wales Country Club. Harris shot 65 on May 9 to earn co-medalist honors and advance to one of 13 sectional qualifiers.
Harris plans to once again play on the Canadian Tour this summer where he has had a great deal of success in the past as he looks to get back to the Web.com Tour where he played three years ago. The tour begins its schedule the first week of June.
Several notable players are scheduled to compete in this sectional, including amateur Mike Miller, who helped New York to the 2012 USGA Men's State Team Championship last fall. Other notables in the field are past PGA Tour winner and 1983 USA Walker Cup member Brad Faxon, 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur champion and 2012 Junior Amateur runner-up Jim Liu, 2004 U.S. Amateur runner-up Luke List and reigning USGA Senior Amateur champion Paul Simson, who competed in the 1998 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club.
Sjoholm and Harris were among a group of eight current and former Georgia State golfers who attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open.
The Panthers have had success in other majors in the past. Dave Womack qualified for The Masters in 2007 after winning the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. Georgia State has also had 12 appearances in the British Open, including a 19th place finish by Tom Sherreard in 2008 following his sophomore season.