Arizona Golf well represented in 156-man field
TUCSON, Ariz. + The University of Arizona men’s golf program will be well represented when the United States Golf Association hosts the 2005 United States Open Championship, as six former Wildcats have qualified for the 156-man field. Four of those players qualified Monday in sectional qualifiers, while two others received exemptions.
Robert Gamez, Jim Furyk, Jason Gore, Chris Nallen, Ted Purdy and Rory Sabatini will all compete for the 105th U.S. Open Championship, June 16-19, at the Pinehurst Resort’s No. 2 Course in Pinehurst, N.C.
Gamez, who currently resides in Celebration, Fla., earned his spot in the field with a tie for sixth place at the Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier at Brookside Golf and Country Club and the Lakes Golf and Country Club after shooting a 68-68?-136. A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Gamez’s best finish in 2005 is a tie for ninth place at the Sony Open. He currently ranks 117th on the PGA Tour Money List. Gamez was the 1989 national college player of the year and a three-time All-American while at Arizona.
Furyk, a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., earned an exemption into the 2005 field as a former champion. Included in his nine PGA Tour wins is the 2003 U.S. Open Championship to go with a pair of runner-up finishes in 2005. Furyk currently ranks fifth on the PGA Tour with a 69.50 scoring average. He was a member of Arizona’s 1992 national championship team and a three-time All-American.
Gore, a Valencia, Calif., product, tied for second place at the Atlanta, Ga., sectional qualifier at East Lake Golf Club after shooting a 66-67?-133 total. He has three career Nationwide Tour wins to his credit with his best finish in 2005 (T11th) coming at the Chattanooga Classic. Gore ranks 12th on the current Nationwide Tour with a 70.14 scoring average. A two-time All-America selection for the Wildcats, Gore claimed individual medalist honors at the 1993 and 1994 Pac-10 Conference Championships.
Nallen, a native of Hackettstown, N.J. tied for second place at the Summit, N.J., qualifier at Canoe Brook Country Club after carding a 70-68?-138 tally. He earned his spot in the field on the same course where he won the 2001 New Jersey State Amateur title. Nallen, who turned professional in 2004, has one career Nationwide Tour victory to his credit and ranks 26th on the current Nationwide Tour driving distance list at 300.2 yards. He was a four-time All-America for Arizona and ranks second in program history with six career collegiate victories.
Purdy, who resides in Phoenix, earned his place in the field with a tie for sixth place at the Columbus, Ohio, sectional qualifier at Brookside Golf and Country Club and the Lakes Golf and Country Club after shooting a 69-67?-136. He won his first PGA Tour event this season at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship and has two additional top-20 finishes to his credit this season. Purdy ranks sixth on the PGA Tour’s total birdies list. He earned All-America honors in each of his last three seasons as a Wildcat.
Sabatini, a resident of Southlake, Texas, earned an exemption into the 2005 field after finishing last season in the top 30 on the PGA Tour money list. Since turning professional in 1999, Sabatini has won two PGA Tour events. His best finish in 2005 is a tie for sixth place at the Bank of America Colonial. Sabatini ranks 38th on the PGA Tour’s driving distance list at 292.0 yards. He garnered All-America accolades for the Wildcats in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
Four other current or Wildcats failed to qualify for the 2005 U.S. Open, but played well enough to earn alternate status at sectional qualifiers: Ricky Barnes, David Berganio, Jr., Brian Prouty, and Mike Springer.
Prouty, a sophomore from Tucson, finished as the third alternate at the Littleton, Colo., sectional qualifier with a 69-75?-142 total. Teammate Nathan Lashley carded a 75-71?-146 at the same qualifier. Just two days earlier, those two competed for Arizona at the 2005 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships in Owings Mills, Md., and helped the team to a 17th-place finish.
Pinehurst No. 2 is a par-70, 7,214-yard layout. The course last hosted the U.S. Open in 1999.