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Gogel earns another crack at Pebble Beach

Matt Gogel earned another crack at Pebble Beach on Tuesday as the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open concluded at eight courses around the country.

Gogel, who had a seven-stroke lead over Tiger Woods on the back nine at Pebble in February until fading, returned to Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., as one of 13 players competing for 12 spots in a playoff.

Other PGA Tour players surviving the playoff included Scott Verplank, Brad Faxon, John Cook and Andy Bean, who also had to qualify at the local level. The odd man out was Don Pooley, who will be an alternate.

In one of six sectional qualifiers that began Tuesday, Javier Sanchez of Eatonton, Ga., was the medalist at Settindown Golf Club in Roswell, Ga., where 75 players competed for five spots.

Sanchez, who learned to play while working as a cook at a golf club, played in every U.S. Open from 1993-96 but had not made it back since. Among those who failed to qualify were former PGA and U.S. Open champion Larry Nelson and Georgia Tech teammates Bryce Molder and Matt Kuchar.

The sectional qualifier in Lake Forest, Ill., carried over to Tuesday because of rain. Kyle Blackman of North Mankato, Minn., was the medalist at Knollwood Club. The other two who qualified were Michael Harris and Mike Troy.

The biggest qualifier Tuesday was in Summit, N.J., where 118 players were trying to land one of 20 spots in next week's Open. Among them were former Masters champion Craig Stadler and his son, Kevin; Ben Crenshaw; former U.S. Open champion Fuzzy Zoeller; and Tucson Open winner Jim Carter.

Carolina Panthers tight end Brian Kinchen and the Kuehne brothers — Hank and Trip — were trying to qualify in Houston. The other sectional qualifiers were in Cornelius, Ore.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Butler, Pa.

 

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