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Canadian amateur champion Ashton McCulloch qualifies

Canadian amateur champion Ashton McCulloch qualifies

RIDGEWAY, Ontario – Of the top 18 finishers at the U.S. Open Final Qualifying at Cherry Hill Club, 17 were card-carrying members of the PGA Tour who had played last week at the RBC Canadian Open. Then there was Michigan State rising senior Ashton McCulloch, the Canadian amateur champion, who crashed the party and earned the final of seven spots available at the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

Before he teed off in his morning round, McCulloch’s brother called to wish him luck and said he was going to mark the week of the Open as out of office so he could caddie for him.

McCulloch shot a 36-hole total of 8-under 134 to qualify for his first major championship. Last week, he played in the Canadian Open, too, and missed the cut, ranking dead last in Strokes Gained: Putting for the first two days. But it was an experienced he said he’ll never forget.

“I figured out it is my passion to play on the PGA Tour so I’m just excited to get back out there and play against the best again,” he said.

Cherry Hill Club, a Walter Travis course that is more than 100 years old, surrendered four 63’s on Monday, which tied the course record. Mark Hubbard just missed a 12-foot birdie putt at the last for 62.

But that was nearly the only putt that didn’t drop with a TaylorMade Spider putter he inserted in the bag just last month.

“It’s the last putter I ever thought I’d use,” he said. “But that’s the best I’ve putted in as long as I can remember. “I feel like I rolled it really well last week and I couldn’t read the greens at all. I got out here and this is an old-school course with lots of slope and I was so happy to be on a green where I could be confident it was going left.”

Hubbard is having a solid season on the Tour and hasn’t missed a cut this season.

“I was joking that if I qualify today does that count as another made cut?” said Hubbard, who qualified for the Open for the first time. (He got into Winged Foot during the COVID year.) “And if I don’t does that count as my first missed cut?”

He shot 64-63 to take medalist honors, three shots better than Canadian Adam Svensson.

Rico Hoey was alone in third after rounds of 68-63. Hoey has struggled as a PGA Tour rookie…


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