One of four Wildcat golfers to advance to the second round of Open qualifying
Neal, a sophomore from
Neal was one of 10 current Wildcats to play in a local qualifier over the last two weeks, but the only one to advance to the next level of qualifying. He is sitting out the 2005-06 season as a redshirt, but posted a 74.61 stroke average in six events as a freshman last year. Six of his 18 played in 2004-05 were at par or better, including a low round of 69.
In addition to Neal’s efforts, three former Wildcats advanced to U.S. Open sectional qualifiers. Ricky Barnes (1999-2003) carded a 67 to claim one of six slots on May 15 at Hot Springs Golf and Country Club in
Chris Nallen (2000-04) was exempt from local qualifying after making the cut and finishing in 80th place at the 2005 U.S. Open.
Two current PGA Tour veterans, and former Wildcats, are fully exempt for the 2006 U.S. Open Field: Jim Furyk (1988-92) and Ted Purdy (1992-96). A third professional, Rory Sabbatini (1994-98) could earn an exemption as one of the top-10 players on the 2006 PGA Tour money list as of May 28. Currently, Sabbatini ranks seventh on that list.
A total of six Wildcats participated in the 2005 U.S. Open and five of those players made the cut.