BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) - Everyone who teed off Monday morning at the Colleton River Club knew what odds they were facing.
There were 73 of them competing Monday, all of them hoping to earn one of just four spots into the next round of qualifying.
But with the ultimate reward being a spot in the 2019 U.S. Open, all of the golfers on the Pete Dye Course Monday felt it was a shot worth taking.
“It’s just a one-time opportunity,” says Bluffton golfer Andres Lopez. “It’s a little nerve wracking. But it’s a really cool experience.”
The players attempting to qualify must carry a 1.4 or lower in the USGA Handicap Index, but it is open to amateurs and pros.
Whether the players are amateurs or professionals, the odds of making it to the annual major tournament from a local qualifier are slim to none.
But that’s what makes these events so special says South Carolina Golf Association Executive Director Biff Lathrop.
“It’s a longshot,” Lathrop admits. “But we’ve had some guys at our local level make the championship, and it’s really cool to know they came straight from here.”
After the cut, the four players moving on at Christian Balker (Simpsonville, SC), Ethan Cairns (Davie, FL), Drew Weary (Bluffton), and Adam Lescalleet (Hilton Head Island).
Thunderbolt native Mark Silvers will be the second alternate after missing the cut by one shot.