Charlie Woods comes up short in U.S. Open qualifying attempt

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Charlie Woods, the 15-year-old son of golf superstar Tiger Woods, failed to advance to the next stage of U.S. Open qualifying after shooting a 9-over-par 81 during a local qualifying event on Thursday at the Legacy Golf & Tennis Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Woods needed to finish in the top 5 to advance to the final round of qualifying, but his score put him near the bottom of the leader board. His card featured three double bogeys, four bogeys and a lone birdie at the par-3 fifth hole.

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Thursday’s local qualifier was one of 109 such events for the U.S. Open, which begins June 13 at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. The top finishers at the local qualifiers advance to one of the 10 U.S. sectional qualifying tournaments on May 20 or June 3. All but one of those 36-hole tournaments are held on the latter date, which has been dubbed “Golf’s Longest Day.”

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Woods faced exceedingly long odds. Last year, only 530 players out of 9,693 (5.5 percent) advanced out of local qualifying, where they were joined by 348 players who received an exemption from the U.S. Golf Association into the sectional qualifying round. Of those 878 golfers in sectional qualifying, only 64 earned a berth in last year’s U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club. That’s 7.3 percent.

To even be eligible to compete in a local qualifier, a golfer either needs a 0.4 handicap or better, or needs to be a professional.

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Woods has been through the qualifying process before. In February, he attempted to qualify for the Cognizant Classic, a PGA Tour event. He shot a 16-over-par 86 and failed to qualify in a round that was marred by poor behavior from the fans who followed Woods around the course.

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Though Woods was a long shot, someone his age advancing out of local qualifying isn’t unheard-of. Last year, 13-year-old Jaden Soong became the youngest male golfer to advance to a U.S. Open sectional qualifier after winning a playoff at his local qualifier in California (Soong finished 16 strokes off the pace at the sectional and failed to qualify for the U.S. Open).

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Andy Zhang of China is the youngest player to ever qualify for the men’s U.S. Open. He was 14 in 2012 when he earned a spot in the field at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. In 2014, Lucy Li qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at the age of 11 after winning her sectional qualifier by seven strokes.

Tiger Woods, a three-time winner of the U.S. Open, currently does not have an exemption into this year’s U.S. Open, though it’s all but certain that the USGA will extend him a special exemption before the event begins on June 13.

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