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Maruyama shoots 58 in US Open Qualifier

Shigeki Maruyama celebrates his round of 58, though it won't count as an offical tour record as it was made during qualifying. Allsport.

Shigeki Maruyama of Japan took golf's magic number one notch lower today by shooting a 58 (29-29) in the first round of 36-hole sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open.

Maruyama's 58 is the lowest score in U.S. Open sectional qualifying since it began in 1924.The score will not be recognized as a PGA Tour record because it happened in a qualifying round, but it was more than enough to earn Maruyama a spot in the 100th U.S. Open next week at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, Calif.

The lowest score in tour history is a 59 set by five players -- David Duval, Chip Beck, Al Geiberger on the PGA Tour; and Doug Dunakey and Notah Begay on the Nike Tour, which is now called the Buy.com Tour.

Maruyama had 11 birdies and an eagle on the 6,539-yard, par-71 South course at Woodmont Country Club, one of 12 qualifying sites for next week's U.S. Open.

"Most of my shots were perfect this morning," Maruyama said through an interpreter. "I wanted to make a good score, and I thought I had to play well on the easier course because rain is coming."

He required 16 more strokes on the North course this afternoon -- shooting a 2-over-par 74 -- but still easily qualified at 132. David Berganio, the 1991 and '93 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, was the medalist at Woodmont at 13-under 130 (64-66). Berganio finished T16th at the 1996 U.S. Open and T28th in the 1999 U.S. Open.

Maruyama holed a wedge from 96 yards for eagle on the ninth hole, and reached the par-5 18th in two from 250 yards away. He two-putted for birdie and a 58.

"Most of my shots were perfect this morning," Maruyama said through an interpreter. "I wanted to make a good score, and I thought I had to play well on the easier course because rain is coming.

Maruyama first drew attention by going 5-0 for the International team in 1998 Presidents Cup. His best finish on the PGA Tour this year was a tie for second in the Buick Invitational, won by Phil Mickelson.

Before today, Maruyama's lowest round in a professional tournament was 63. He said his lowest round anywhere was 61.

"After playing here today, I'm very tired," he said. "I hope I play well at this year's U.S. Open so I don't have to do this again. It was like running a marathon."

This will be the 30-year-old Maruyama's first appearance in the U.S. Open. He has played in The Masters, theOpen, and the PGA Championship in recent years, with his best major championship finish being a tie for 10th at the 1997Open.

Also among the other 35 qualifiers from Woodmont were 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize and Kirk Triplett, who is among the top 20 money-leaders for the PGA Tour this year.A 13-man playoff for the final 12 spots will be held tomorrow morning.

Five other clubs today were sites for 36-hole qualifying for the U.S. Open, and six more will host qualifying on Tuesday.

Gaining one of three spots from Clovernook Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio was Ryuji Imada, the winner of the Virginia Beach Open on the Buy.com Tour on May 21.Imada was the runner-up at the 1997 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Chris Tidland, a member of the 1997 U.S. Walker Cup squad, was the medalist at Lake Merced Golf and Country Club in Daly City, Calif., firing rounds of 69-69-138.

Results from Knollwood Club in Lake Forest, Ill. will not be complete until tomorrow because of rain.Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. was delayed 90 minutes because of lightning.

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