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US Open receives record number of entries

The U.S. Open is one of the toughest tests in golf. It is also one of the most prestigious, and for over 9,0000 people, the chance at glory outweighs any possible humiliation.

The United States Golf Association has accepted a record 9,048 entries for the 2005 U.S. Open to be played at Pinehurst Resort's famed No. 2 Course from June 16-19. That is 322 more than the previous record set in 2004 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

There were quite a few golfers who waited until the last minute to apply. A total of 1,051 entries were submitted two days before the April 27 deadline, with 75 coming in the final hour.

The ages range from 14 to 82 years old which is amazing considering a player must have a 1.4 handicap index or be a professional to be eligible.

Sixty-one golfers, including seven past champions, are currently exempt from having to qualify. Hale Irwin, a three-time winner, and Tom Kite, the 1992 champion, will try to earn a berth in the field of 156 through sectional qualifying.

At the end of May, the number of exempt golfers will grow with the inclusion of the top 50 in the world rankings, the top 10 PGA Tour money leaders and the top two money leaders on the European PGA Tour.

Local qualifying begins Monday at more than 100 sites. Sectional qualifying will be held from May 30-June 7 at 14 sites. International sectional qualifiers are being played for the first time this year and will be held May 30 in Japan and June 6 in England.

A U.S. Open champion receives a full exemption into the field for 10 years. South Africa's Retief Goosen won the 2004 U.S. Open with a 4-under-par 276. He also won in 2001.


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