T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Stroke of pencil leads to U.S. Open DQ for amateur
Series: Golf Buzz
Published: Tuesday, June 03, 2014 | 9:11 a.m.
This one is going to hurt.
GolfChannel.com's Will Gray has the unfortunate story of 22-year-old amateur Landon Michelson, who seemed to have qualified for the U.S. Open yesterday.
However, that dream of heading to Pinehurst was quickly turned into a nightmare.
Michelson shot 1-under 71 in both rounds at his sectional qualifier at Quail Valley Golf Club in Vero Beach, Fla. As Gray explained, "He'd broken par both rounds, and at worst looked to be facing a 2-for-1 playoff for a spot in his first U.S. Open."
Michelson -- ecstatic over his play -- made one big mistake. He didn't pay close enough attention to his scorecard before signing it. Michelson's playing partner inadvertently put Michelson down for a par on the 11th hole in the second round. Michelson actually had a three-putt bogey on the hole.
Michelson signed for a 70 instead of a 71 and was disqualified.
"I'm pretty devastated," Michelson told GolfChannel.com. "Just so frustrating."
Michelson, who arrived at the course at 6 a.m. as the first alternate and got into the field only after PGA Tour winner Fredrik Jacobson withdrew, was one of only eight players to break par during the morning wave. He began the second round tied for fifth among a field of 55 players with four spots at Pinehurst up for grabs.
An eagle on the par-5 14th vaulted Michelson into contention. When he finished the day at 2-under 142, he was tied for fourth place with veteran Aron Price and was preparing for a possible playoff, with Price playing the difficult finishing hole two groups behind.
Michelson's caddie Chris Ingham, wrote Gray, began to get congratulatory phone calls even though the U.S. Open spot wasn't yet locked up. Then, Ingham and Michelson noticed that the leaderboard showed Michelson's two-round score listed as 141, not 142.
Michelson had missed the error when he signed his scorecard and was forced to report the oversight to officials, leading to his disqualification.
"Today was one of the first rounds I've ever been like, super focused," Michelson said. "I didn't even know what I was at, to be honest with you. The guy (in scoring) told me I shot 70 and I was like, 'Yeah, sounds right.' Looking over it, Chris and I went over it and it was a 71."
Tough, tough break.