COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina juniors Matt NeSmith and Sean Kelly advanced to U.S. Open sectional qualifying on Wednesday at their respective local qualifiers.
NeSmith, a North Augusta native, carded a 3-under 69 at the local qualifier at Oldfield Club in Okatie, S.C., to finish in a five-way tie for third. He birdied on the second playoff hole to earn one of five spots to sectionals. In the local qualifier at Carrollwood Country Club in Tampa, Fla., Kelly posted a 69 to become one of four golfers to advance to sectionals.
In the qualifier at Oldfield, Carolina junior Will Starke and former Gamecock All-American Mark Silvers also shot 69 but fell in the playoff and will be alternates. Former Gamecock All-American George Bryan IV finished one shot out of the playoff in a tie for eighth after shooting a 70. Current Gamecocks Ben Dietrich (73) and Will Murphy (76), Carolina signee Will Miles (74) and former Gamecock Wesley Bryan (74) also played in the qualifier at Oldfield.
NeSmith and Kelly will play in sectional qualifying on June 8 at one of 10 sites in the U.S. Golfers will play 36 holes in one day to try to earn a spot into the field of 156 golfers for the 115th U.S. Open Championship, which will be held June 18-21 at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.