Oakmont to hold U.S. Open qualifier

GLENDALE — Oakmont Country Club will once again be associated with the U.S. Open Championship.

This time, the Glendale course will add to its résumé by hosting a 36-hole sectional qualifying round June 6. The course, which opened in 1922, will be one of 11 sites in the nation and 13 internationally that will host a qualifier for the 111th rendition of the U.S. Open.

The U.S. Open, one of 13 championships conducted by the United States Golf Assn., will be held June 16-19 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

A local qualifier for the U.S. Open was held last year at Oakmont. Last year's championship was held at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach and won by Graeme McDowell.

"The Southern California Golf Assn. called us last summer and they were pleased with the way the club handled the local qualifier and the support it got from the community," Oakmont General Manager Michael Hyler said. "We are excited about hosting the sectional and it's a big step up for us.

"The entire club will be ready and able to support it. The members support all of the events we have here.

"To see the quality level that will be out on the course will be very gratifying. It will be an honor to host the sectionals."

The international sectionals will be held May 23 in Japan and May 30 in England. The sites in the United States will be in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Local qualifying rounds will take place May 6-19.

Oakmont assistant professional Donny Lee said the fabled course might have some of the elite players in the world competing with plenty at stake.

"You'll have some top-tier pros and it will be great because it means a lot to the club," Lee said. "It's going to be a real hard course.

"It's a championship course and you'll have to be patient out there."

Oakmont, which underwent major renovations in 2009, has hosted its share of top events. Oakmont hosted the LPGA Valley of the Stars Tournament Tour in 1999 that saw Catrin Nilsmark top favorite Annika Sorenstam on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.

The club has also hosted the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship five times, in addition to being the site of the Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf Championship in 2003. Oakmont co-hosted the 97th rendition of the California Amateur Championship with Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake in 2008.

The venue hosted the Southern California PGA Sectional Championship last August. The course has been the site the last four years for Western State Conference matches with Glendale Community College men's and women's teams serving as the hosts.

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