BALL GROUND, Ga. – Duke junior men’s golfer Chandler Eaton has earned a spot in the 2019 U.S. Open, thanks to his top-four finish at the U.S Open Sectional Qualifier on Monday at the Hawks Ridge Golf Club outside of Atlanta.
The 36-hole qualifier was contested Monday with Eaton carding a two-round total of nine-under par 135 including a bogey-free, six-under 66 in the second round. The rising senior and two-time All-American finished tied for third with PGA Tour pro Roberto Castro. Another tour pro, Ollie Schniederjans, tied for low medalist honors with amateur Noah Norton at 11-under par 133.
There are 12 sectional qualifiers worldwide with 927 golfers teeing it up for just 75 spots – one of which now belongs to Eaton. The 2019 U.S. Open is set for Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif., June 10-16.
An Alpharetta, Ga., native, Eaton was out of the gate quickly on Monday, finding himself two-under through four holes after an eagle on the par-5 fourth. He turned in four-under 32 and posted a one-over 37 on the back to sign for a three-under 69 in the first round.
His sparkling, bogey-free second round featured six birdies and 12 pars. Flirting with the qualifying cut late in the round, Eaton birdied the par-four seventh (his 16th hole) to get inside the cut, then parred the final two holes to seal his spot.
Duke senior Alex Smalley, who was looking to qualifying for the U.S. Open for the second time in three years, also competed in the sectional qualifier with Eaton and just missed the qualifying cut by three strokes. Smalley played in the 2017 Open at Erin Hills.
Six other former Blue Devils competed in sectional qualifying over the last week – Wes Roach, Ryan Blaum, Julian Suri, Matt Oshrine, Kevin Streelman and Adam Long – but did not advance.