Kevin Sutherland has been granted an exemption into this year’s U.S. Senior Open.
Sutherland, who turns 50 on July 4, would have qualified for the July 10-13 championship in Edmond, Okla., based on career earnings in the top 50 on the Champions Tour. But because those earnings are calculated when entries close May 28 – and spots are reserved only for players 50 and over at that time – the United States Golf Association granted the exemption.
“It was a matter of timing,” said Jeff Hall , USGA managing director of rules, competitions and amateur status. “He would have comfortably been in the field should his birthday had been prior to May 28. It’s a logical use of a special exemption.”
Scott Verplank turns 50 the day before this year’s championship but qualifies as a former member of Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams.
Hall said the USGA likely will create an exempt category for players such as Sutherland who qualify based on career earnings but whose birthday falls between the time entries close and the championship begins.
Sutherland’s career earnings of more than $15 million would place him 37th on the Champions Tour and almost certainly will land him a berth in the 2015 U.S. Senior Open in Sacramento.
He has played in 12 USGA championships – nine U.S. Opens, two U.S. Amateur Public Links and one U.S. Amateur.
• Folsom’s Kevin Lucas emerged from a seven-players-for-one-spot playoff to grab the fifth and final qualifying berth at the first stage of U.S. Open qualifying Monday at Ruby Hill in Pleasanton. Matt Hansen (UC Davis) and Joshua Stone (Stockton) also advanced.
• The boys teams from Granite Bay, Jesuit and Central Catholic of Modesto advanced to the Northern California high school championships at Sierra View on Monday. In Monday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament at The Reserve, medalist Granite Bay and runner-up Jesuit each had all six players in the 70s. Drake Mendenhall led the Grizzlies with a 2-under-70 and Chad Kubes (72) was low for the Marauders. Rio Americano’s Alex Lee (69), Vista del Lago’s Kevin Huff (70) and El Camino’s Eric Olsem (70) advanced as individuals.
• Sierra’s Perry Wright tied for eighth and Folsom Lake’s Nick Yell tied for 24th Monday at the California Community College Athletic Association men’s championship at the Victoria Club in Riverside.
• Stanford’s Marissa Mar (El Macero) and Virginia’s Briana Mao (Folsom) are part of the qualifying teams for next week’s NCAA Women’s Division I championship in Tulsa, Okla.
Call The Bee’s Steve Pajak, (916) 326-5526.