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Open season

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 19, 2002

The United States Golf Association accepted a record 8,468 entries for the U.S. Open, June 13-16 at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y. In all, 8,839 entries were received through the mail or Internet, but 371 players were rejected because of poor performance in past qualifying rounds or a USGA Handicap higher than 1.4. The acceptance figure is 13 greater than the previous record set in 2000. Full exemptions go to past champions (for 10 years), the top 50 players from the world rankings, the top 10 money leaders on the PGA Tour and the top two money leaders on the European PGA Tour at the end of May, the winner of the U.S. Amateur, the past five Masters and British Open winners, winner of the PGA of America Championship, the 2002 Players Championship, the 2001 U.S. Senior Open, the top 15 from the 2001 U.S. Open, the top 30 from the 2001 PGA Tour money list, and several other categories. Seventeen qualifiers will be played in Florida, including at El Diablo in Citrus Springs.

LOCAL QUALIFIERS

Hopefuls with North Suncoast connections, plus qualifying site and date:

Ralph Kinderman (Spring Hill), Gainesville Country Club, Monday.

Joey Ludeman (Weeki Wachee), Michael Dono III (Spring Hill), Job Levesque (Brooksville), Jerry Heard (Brooksville), Michael Westfall (Homosassa), Rusty Stocker (Homosassa), Grasslands Golf & Country Club, Lakeland, Monday.

Boyd Brown (Brooksville), The Golf Club at South Hampton, St. Augustine, Monday.

David Knighton (Homosassa), Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, May 16.

Joe Cioe (Crystal River), Joey Rassett (Lecanto), Jimmie Brothers (Inverness, qualified), Sean VerLee (Homosassa), Scott Wyckoff (Homosassa), El Diablo, Citrus Springs, May 16.

Doug Ferris (Brooksville, failed to qualify), Hunter's Green Country Club, Tampa Palms, May 13.

Bruce Wesson (Spring Hill, failed to qualify), Glenn Gabriel (Spring Hill, failed to qualify), Westin Innisbrook, Palm Harbor, May 8.

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