June 12, 2013
THE FLATS – Four Georgia Tech alumni, including 2009 British Open Champion Stewart Cink and 2013 multiple PGA tour winner Matt Kuchar, will tee off Thursday at the 113th U.S. Open Championship at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Nicholas Thompson, a 2005 Tech graduate, and Matt Weibring, a 2002 graduate, also qualified to compete in the championship through sectional tournaments last week. They will be chasing a title last won by a Tech alumnus in 1930, when Bobby Jones captured his fourth title.
Kuchar is among the first off Thursday (7:22 a.m.) and has been paired with Justin Rose and 2012 Tour Championship winner Brandt Snedeker for the first two rounds. Cink is paired for the first two days with Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington, teeing off Thursday at 7:44 a.m. Thompson will begin Thursday’s round at 8:24 a.m. playing with Shawn Stefani and amateur Michael Kim. Weibring is in a group with Kevin Sullivan and fellow Web.com Tour member Randall Hutchison, teeing off at 8:46 a.m. Thursday.
Here’s a look at the four Yellow Jackets competing this weekend:
Stewart Cink – Exempt by virtue of his 2009 British Open championship, Cink is competing in his 18th consecutive U.S. Open. In 2001 at Southern Hills, the Georgia Tech alum finished one shot out of a playoff, in which Retief Goosen defeated Mark Brooks. Among his six PGA Tour victories are two wins at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina and the WGC-NEC Invitational in 2004 at Firestone Country Club. Cink has earned more than $31 million in his professional career and ranks 12th all-time in that category.
Matt Kuchar – Playing in his 11th U.S. Open, Kuchar is exempt into the field by virtue of his No. 4 position in the Official World Golf Ranking, as the winner of the 2012 Players and as a 2012 Tour Championship qualifier. The 1997 U.S. Amateur champion made a memorable U.S. Open debut by finishing 14th in 1998 at Olympic as an amateur. Over the past few years, Kuchar has been one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour, with 30 top-10 finishes between 2009 and 2012. Ranked fourth in the world, he has won the Accenture Match Play Championship and The Memorial this year, and is one of two golfers to win multiple events. He ranks 25th in PGA Tour career earnings with more than $25 million. His best finish in the U.S. Open is sixth in 2010.
Nicholas Thompson – Making his third U.S. Open start, Thompson qualified from a sectional tournament in Columbus, Ohio in which he finished second. The brother of 2008 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Lexi Thompson played in the 2005 Walker Cup. Thompson has played on the PGA Tour, where he has earned more than $3.8 million, and the Web.com Tour, where he won the 2007 HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship. His best U.S. Open finish is a tie for 51st in 2012.
Matt Weibring – Making his first U.S. Open appearance, Weibring qualified for the U.S. Open by winning the sectional tournament in Dallas, Texas. Weibring is currently playing on the Web.com Tour, where his best finish is a tie for second at the 2012 Mylan Classic. Weibring’s best PGA Tour finish is eighth at the 2009 Verizon Heritage.
Tech’s foursome is among 12 golfers from the Atlantic Coast Conference competing for our national championship, which is the second most of any conference in the country, behind only the 13 from the Pac-12. Five ACC programs have multiple representatives in the field, and Tech has the most.
Georgia Tech’s legendary Bobby Jones won two U.S. Amateur titles at Merion Golf Club, in 1924 and 1930. The 1930 victory completed the only Grand Slam of golf ever achieved. Jones had won his fourth U.S. Open earlier that year at Interlachen Golf Club.
Matt Weibring, a 2002 Tech graduate, is playing in his first U.S. Open on a golf course where his father, D.A., tied for 43rd the last time the Open was held at Merion, in 1981.
Since Bobby Jones won his last U.S. Open in 1930, Stewart Cink has come the closest among Tech alumni to winning one, finishing third, one stroke out of a playoff, in 2001 at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla.
Four-time Tech All-American David Duval will be at Merion this weekend as a broadcaster. He’s scheduled to do some analysis on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and will be an analyst for coverage that airs on ESPN3 and DirecTV, where he will be paired with Trey Wingo to call the action on the 11th and 18th holes.