Those who passed: Bertsch, a 42-year-old from Colorado who has on-and-off played on the PGA Tour, was the medallist with a 4-under total of 140 on Woodmont’s North Course. His only other Open appearance: 1998, when he qualified at Woodmont to advance to Olympic.
Michael Thompson, a PGA Tour regular whose last appearance at Olympic was a loss in the final of the 2007 U.S. Amateur, was next at 2 under. “I’ve had this one circled on my calendar for a long time,” he said. Five players tied at 1 under — Paul Claxton of Georgia, Cole Howard of Texas, Darron Stiles of North Carolina, Curl and Nicholas Thompson, the older brother of LPGA teen star Lexi Thompson.
Of those, Curl had the most harrowing experience. After a morning-round 69, playing in the day’s final group, a three-putt jarred him, and “you start thinking about it.” His father Rod was a successful tour pro whose first U.S. Open came in 1966 — at Olympic. So he entered local qualifying to try to get where his dad once was.
“I tear up just thinking about it,” he said.
He came to his final hole needing par to avoid a playoff. He blasted a drive, hit a solid approach and lagged a final putt up to tap-in range. When he came off the course, he stuck out his tongue – exasperated – and nearly tackled his mother at the side of the green. It is why, as Funk said, “I’ll keep trying as long as I think I can compete. I love the U.S. Open atmosphere.”
He has experienced it 22 times. Park, a bit downcast after finishing 5 over, hasn’t. Yet.
“It’ll happen for me one day,” he said. “One day — hopefully soon.”
U.S. Open notes: Davis Love III qualified for his 23rd U.S. Open after finishing at 2 under in 36 holes at Scioto Country Club and Ohio State’s Scarlet Course in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Steve Marino (W.T. Woodson/University of Virginia), who returned last week from a four-month break due to a bad shoulder, also qualified.
Casey Martin clinched a spot with a five-foot par putt on the final hole of Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Ore.
Martin once sued for the right to use a cart because of a circulatory disorder in his right leg. It is his first U.S. Open since 1998, also played at Olympic.