Oakmont opens up for qualifying

Golfers — professionals and amateurs — from coast to coast have their hearts set on being a part of the field in the 112th United States Open Championship in June.

At 32 venues Monday, 8,527 competitors will look to take the first step toward qualifying for the championship. One of the sites will be Glendale's Oakmont Country Club, which will host an 18-hole local qualifier for the second time in three years.

Ninety participants will take to the Oakmont course, which opened in 1922 and has hosted its share of large attractions. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. Seven local players will be among the field looking to advance.

A solid round will move them one step closer to the championship, which will be held June 14-17 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Local qualifying events will have been held at 109 sites between April 30 and May 17. The top-six finishers from Oakmont will move on to the sectional qualifying and 550 from the qualifying spots move on. The sectionals, played over 36 holes, will be held at two international sites on May 21 (Japan) and May 28 (England) and 11 sites in the United States on June 4. Qualifiers can play their sectional at the site of their choice.

There figures to be plenty of local talent on hand at Oakmont, including Brett Kanda. Kanda, a La Crescenta resident and a member of the Canadian Tour, will look to pass the first test when he tees off at 8:51.

"I know that I have to play real consistent and make my round as easy as possible," said Kanda, a Flintridge Prep graduate and Oakmont member. "The U.S. Open is everybody's dream.

"I have to go out there and not make any crazy mistakes. I feel like I'm getting more confident with everything I do. It's just about staying in a comfort level and trying to stay positive."

Among the other area residents expected to participate in Monday's event are Michael Sabo of Glendale, Jonathan Goglia of Burbank and Keith Kinsel, Cory Camilleri and Scott Lorenz of La Cañada Flintridge and Russell Surber, a former Flintridge Prep standout now residing in Orlando, Fla.

Oakmont, which underwent major renovations in 2009, hosted a U.S. Open sectional qualifier last season, in addition to the local qualifier in 2010. It has also hosted the LPGA Valley of the Stars Tournament Tour in 1999, the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship five times, the 2003 Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf Championship and co-hosted the 2008 California Amateur Championship with Lakeside Golf Club in Toluca Lake.

Professional John Milligan said the club is eager to host another large event.

"It's just awesome to be considered and the members will be following everybody," Milligan said. "It's a difficult course and you have to play your shots in the right direction.

"I think people appreciate the traditional style course."


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