Golf: Kentuckians Teater, Brown and Hadwin play their way into U.S. Open

Josh Teater, of Lexington, is playing in his first major golf tournament at this week's U.S. Open at Merion G.C. in Ardmore, Penn.
Josh Teater, of Lexington, is playing in his first major golf tournament at this week's U.S. Open at Merion G.C. in Ardmore, Penn. Associated Press

Three players with Kentucky ties — Josh Teater, Brandon Brown and Adam Hadwin — qualified for the U.S. Open on Monday on what is called "the longest day in golf."

The final stage of qualifying stretched one end of the country to the other with 11 sites hosting 36-hole qualifiers. The biggest — in Columbus, Ohio — was not far from where the Memorial finished because so many PGA Tour players were involved.

Teater, a former Henry Clay High School and Morehead State standout, tied for second at that site, which had 15 U.S. Open spots on the line. Charley Hoffman was the medalist at 11 under with Teater, David Hearn, Nicholas Thompson and Robert Karlsson one shot behind.

"I tried to treat it like it was just another round of golf, not to think too much about what is going on, and see what happens," Teater told ESPN.

The U.S. Open will be held at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., on June 13-16.

It was the second big day of qualifying this season for Teater. He also played his way into the British Open, which will be July 18-21. He was the medalist at that event, shooting 7 under par at Gleneagles Country Club in Dallas on May 21.

"I've done this qualifier six or seven times and never had any luck," Teater told the Golf Channel, according to "I was already qualified for the PGA ... and then I qualified for the British, and here I qualified for this one, so it looks like I'm going to get three this year."

There were only two spots on the line at the Springfield, Ohio, sectional, and one of those went to Brown, who competed at Shelby County High School and Eastern Kentucky. Brown, who shot 5 under par to finish second at the site, competes on the NGA Tour. He won that developmental tour's event at Georgetown — The Cherry Blossom Classic — on May 19.

Brown said he and Teater are good friends and he's already looking forward to seeing him at the U.S. Open. "I only get to play with him once a year, but he always tells me to keep believing and (a Tour card) will happen," Brown said.

Hadwin, a Canadian who played at the University of Louisville, earned his U.S. Open spot at the Rockville, Md., sectional. He tied for first with Russell Knox and Randall Hutchinson at 9 under par. There were eight spots available at that site.

Hadwin is in his second season on the Tour. He had four top-10 finishes last season, but none in 10 events so far in 2013.

Close calls

There were several near-misses for players with Kentucky ties.

Steve Flesch, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour who played at Covington Catholic and Kentucky, birdied his last hole in regulation to get into a 11-man playoff for seven spots at the Columbus sectional.

He was eliminated on the third playoff hole after missing mid-range birdie putts on all three.

Former St. Xavier standout Justin Thomas, who helped Alabama win an NCAA title this past weekend, bogeyed his final two holes to finished tied for 23rd (6 under) and two shots out of the playoff at the Columbus, Ohio, sectional.

Will Bishop, a Paul Laurence Dunbar graduate who plays for Kentucky, tied for 11th (2 under) in a Memphis sectional that had nine qualifying spots. He is the site's second alternate after winning a three-way playoff with Ben Crane and Jack Newman.

West Jessamine star Fred Allen Meyer, the state's most recent KHSAA individual champion, tied for 37th (2 over) in the 112-player field.