From Qualification to US Open Contention?

Sergio Garcia, 2023 U.S. Open, Los Angeles Country Club,(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Sergio Garcia, 2023 U.S. Open, Los Angeles Country Club,(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images) /

It seems every year at least one golfer that made it through a final qualifying site seems to contend at the US Open.

This was put on full display in the “Netflix Full Swing” episode centered around Joel Dahmen, as he advanced through a final qualifying site and was in a great position to win the US Open after 36 holes.

It is safe to assume that there could be a similar occurrence this year. So who exactly are the best bets for a qualifier to make a run?

From Qualification to US Open Contention?

US Open, LACC, 2023 U.S. Open, Sergio Garcia
Eric Cole, 2023 RBC Canadian Open, (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

1. Eric Cole

Cole continued his heater of a season by qualifying through the Columbus, Ohio, site on June 5th.

The 35-year-old PGA Tour Rookie has made waves in his first season, most notably losing in a playoff to Chris Kirk at this year’s Honda Classic.

The Mini-tour legend was around the top of the leaderboard the first two days of the PGA Championship, but tapered off for a T-15, which is still quite impressive for his debut in said tournament.

Continuing his stretch of good play, Cole fired an unbelievable 63 at last weekend’s Canadian Open to finish T-6. Cole has proven all year to be a quick learner and that he does not shy away from the big stage, so look for him to turn some heads and really contend in Los Angeles this week.

2. Sergio Garcia

Yep. You are reading that correctly. Sergio Garcia, one of Europe’s most prolific golfers of all time, had to qualify for the US Open by way of Final Qualifying. Sergio fired back-to-back 66s at the Dallas, Texas, location of Final Qualifying on May 22nd to advance to LACC for what will be his 24th US Open appearance.

Sergio is on this list due to his incomparable amount of experience in not only this tournament but major championships in general; despite his rather lackluster performance on the LIV Circuit this season.

it should be noted, however, that Sergio is a fierce competitor, and having the ability to once again play on golf’s biggest stage might reignite his good play.

3. Sebastian Munoz

Munoz made it through the Rockville, MD, Qualifying location by way of advancing in a 4 for 2 playoff. Munoz, one of the members of Team Torque on the LIV Circuit (all of which qualified for this week’s event), had a great showing at last year’s US Open finishing T-14 and just barely missing the Top 10 which would have automatically qualified him for this year’s event.

Munoz is fresh off a 4th place finish at the LIV DC event and seems to have found something as of late. It is also worth mentioning that Munoz had quite the stellar Presidents Cup showing last fall, during which he defeated Scottie Scheffler in his singles match.

Expect Munoz to be one of the higher-finishing LIV golfers not named Brooks Koepka or Cameron Smith at this year’s US Open.

Hot. Taylor’s Canada win is no plus at the U.S. Open. light

US Open, LACC, 2023 U.S. Open, Sergio Garcia
Gordon Sargent, 2023 Masters Tournament, (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

4. Gordon Sargent (A)

People tend to forget that Gordon Sargent was predicted by many to turn heads at Augusta National. But due to the unreal performance of fellow amateur Sam Bennett, who really stole the show that week, Sargent went a bit under the radar.

Sargent, now ranked the number two amateur in the world and fresh off his sophomore season at Vanderbilt, qualified at the Ball Ground, GA, as a result of his 64-67 rounds. Not to mention, he was the medalist by two strokes in a field filled with long-tenured professionals, such as Ted Potter Jr., and Roberto Castro.

Although the 2022 NCAA Champion’s MC at Augusta may seem like a cause for concern, it should be accounted for that the Masters was his first major, and now that he has dipped his toes in the major championship waters look for the 20-year-old to make a splash this week at the US Open.

5. Austin Eckroat 

Although he will fly under the radar at LACC this week, some attention should be paid to the 24-year-old Tour Rookie who has made his last five cuts on tour, including a T-16 at Jack’s place and a T-2 at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Just in the last five weeks, Eckroat has risen almost 100 spots in the world golf rankings, which is no small feat. This will be the Oklahoma State product’s second US Open appearance, his first coming as an amateur at Pebble Beach in 2019.

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If Eckroat can stay on his heater, this could be a memorable week at LACC and the US Open.