The 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club from June 16-19 on Monday won't feature Arnold Palmer, but it will feature his grandson: Sam Saunders, a 23-year-old aspiring PGA Tour player, made the U.S. Open field by earning his spot at a sectional qualifier in Vero Beach, Florida.
Saunders shot a 69-72 to finish in the top three at Quail Valley Golf Club, and will be joining medalist Joey Lamielle and Michael Barbosa in Marlyand at Congressional after surviving a three-man playoff with Barbosa and Andres Escavarria for the final two qualifier slots.
Saunders, who played collegiate golf at Clemson, has played in just six events on the PGA Tour slate this year, and made just two cuts. But he finished tied for 15th at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and tied for 30th, fittingly enough, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
His 2011 U.S. Open start will be his first in one of golf's major championships. And while few expect him to contend for the title his grandfather won just once, 51 years ago, just being in the field at the annually brutal Open is an accomplishment in own right.
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