7 surprising golfers who didn’t qualify for the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club
The U.S. Open is perhaps the most democratic of golf’s major championships, with thousands of golfers entering to play each year.
This year was no exception, with the USGA receiving a record 10,187 entries from hopefuls looking to reach this year’s championship at Los Angeles Country Club. But of course, only 156 will tee it up next week for the national championship, and many saw their dreams stop Monday in final qualifying.
With just one more top-60 Official World Golf Ranking cutoff at the end of this week, more than 850 golfers — pros and amateurs alike — took a swing at the second stage of U.S. Open final qualifying on “golf’s longest day” Monday. It’s a grueling, 36-hole day, with only a handful of spots available in each of the 10 spots.
Here are the seven most surprising names who failed to qualify for the 2023 U.S. Open.
Ludvig Aberg (a)
Qualifying site: Toronto – 66-70 (missed by 3)
Why it’s surprising: Aberg just completed a standout career at Texas Tech and earned instant membership on the PGA Tour through the revamped PGA Tour U program. He’s set to make his professional debut this week at the RBC Canadian Open, but he’s already made two PGA Tour cuts this year, including a T24 finish at Bay Hill. Ranked the No. 1 amateur in the world until he turns pro on Thursday, Aberg figures to play in many marquee events the rest of this season, including a possible Ryder Cup selection. He won’t, however, tee it up at the U.S. Open.
Qualifying site: Toronto – 64-70 (missed by 1)
Why it’s surprising: Hall has been off to an excellent start in his PGA Tour career, earning three top-10s already in his rookie season. The 25-year-old Englishman is coming off an excruciatingly close call at Colonial a week ago, when he led nearly wire-to-wire before coming up a shot short of the playoff. He played in his first major at the U.S. Open a year ago at Brookline, but a second-round 70 wasn’t enough to get him back despite a first-round 64.
Qualifying site: Boyton Beach, Florida – WD
Why it’s surprising: Wolff has become one of the golf world’s most enigmatic figures. He burst onto the scene quickly, winning in his rookie season on the PGA Tour right after he left Oklahoma State with an NCAA Individual Championship. Then he went toe-to-toe with Bryson DeChambeau at the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, finishing second in only his second major start.
His 2021 and early 2022 were uneven as he dealt with injuries, confidence droughts and eventually signed with LIV Golf. Now there’s more drama after it was reported Wolff left Brooks Koepka’s Smash GC team and is seeking a new LIV team as he recovers from another injury. That same injury caused him to WD from his U.S. Open qualifier before his first-round tee time. He hasn’t played a major since last year’s PGA.
Qualifying site: Rockville, Md. – 68-74 (missed by 3)
Why it’s surprising: A six-time PGA Tour winner, Marc Leishman hadn’t missed a major since the 2015 Masters. Now, thanks to a tumble down to No. 147 in the world rankings given his LIV status, he’ll miss the U.S. Open thanks to a second-round 74 in final qualifying.
Stewart Hagestad (a)
Qualifying site: Summit, N.J. – 71-77 (missed by 11)
Why it’s surprising: Hagestad has become one of the most successful mid-amateurs in modern golf. Last year, he played in his fourth U.S. Open at The Country Club and finished as low amateur. Before that, the two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur winner also was the first Mid-Am winner to make the cut at the Masters in 2017. His bid for a fifth U.S. Open berth sank with a second-round 77.
Qualifying site: Columbus, Ohio – 63-73 (Lost in 4-for-3 playoff)
Why it’s surprising: In 2009, Lucas Glover opened U.S. Open final qualifying with a 63. Two weeks later, he won the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. He was hoping to repeat the feat again after opening with a 63 in the Columbus qualifier, but a second-round 73 put him in a playoff for the final spot. He missed a short par putt on the first playoff hole that eliminated him. The 43-year-old’s best days are behind him, but he did win on the PGA Tour as recently as 2021. He has only played the U.S. Open once since his 10-year exemption lapsed in 2021.
Harold Varner III
Qualifying site: Durham, N.C. – 67-69 (missed by 3)
Why it’s surprising: Varner was in great form having just won LIV Golf DC. He was probably the most established player in his final qualifier, which was filled with lots of talent from the Korn Ferry Tour. However, Varner just couldn’t take it deep enough at Old Chatham Club. He’ll miss his first major since the 2021 U.S. Open.