Scott Piercy received two pieces of good news during a 24-hour span … but one was far more important than the other.
First, and most critical, was the fact the Bonanza High School graduate had qualified for next week’s U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. The second bit of good news was that he won’t have to contend with Tiger Woods after Woods pulled out Tuesday with injury issues involving his left leg.
Piercy was one of three golfers with Las Vegas ties to play his way into the field Monday in Memphis, Tenn. Former UNLV players Chad Campbell and Andres Gonzales also qualified through sectional play.
“I’m excited to be in,” Piercy said after posting a two-round score of 11-under-par 133 at Tunica National Golf Club to receive one of the 10 spots at that sectional. “I started pretty slow this year, so I hope this gets me going.”
As for Woods missing his first Open since 1994 because of problems with his left knee and left Achilles tendon, Piercy didn’t seem concerned.
“I guess it means it opens up a spot for someone else,” he said.
Piercy’s best finish on the PGA Tour this year was a tie for 26th at the Byron Nelson Classic on May 29. He has played in only eight Tour events in 2011 and missed the cut in half of them, having made $113,590.
Piercy also has missed the cut in the three Nationwide Tour events he has participated in this season. But a good showing next week at Congressional can turn his year around quickly.
“I’m starting to see some positive signs,” Piercy said. “I went back to some old equipment recently, and I’m thinking my way around the course a little differently, and it seems to have helped.”
Piercy said qualifying for the U.S. Open wasn’t much different from any other tournament, even though he found himself playing alongside amateurs, college kids and club professionals along with fellow Tour pros.
“It’s still golf,” he said. “You’re still trying to beat the guys you’re playing against.”
Seventy-eight players were in the Memphis Sectional field. Piercy’s 133 was one shot off the best score, posted by William Cauley of Jacksonville, Fla., and Sung Hoon Kang of Irving, Texas, who both finished at 132.
“When you shoot 11 under, everything goes well,” Piercy said.
Piercy said he’ll have a support group at Congressional in his wife, Sara, and three children.
“That’s going to be nice having the family there with me,” he said. “We’re looking forward to next week. I just hope I play well.”
Gonzales, a PGA Tour rookie who played at UNLV from 2003 to 2006, also finished at 133. Campbell, an 11-year Tour veteran who was an All-American with the Rebels in 1996, shot 135 and won his spot as part of a seven-man playoff that included Sergio Garcia and Briny Baird.
Among the locals not qualifying were former UNLV player Brett Kanda, Henderson’s Monte Montgomery and Las Vegas’ Eric Meeks. All three competed for one of five spots in a 94-player field at the Glendale, Calif., Sectional at Oakmont Country Club.
Las Vegas’ Bob May, who had won the recent Las Vegas Regional at Dragon Ridge, was unable to advance out of the 71-man Dallas Sectional at the Dallas Athletic Club’s Blue Course. May’s 145 was nine shots off the final spot.
Henderson’s Craig Barlow was among 112 golfers vying for 10 spots at the Rockville, Md., Sectional at Woodmont Country Club. He missed a spot by six shots.
Las Vegas’ John Hahn and Clark High School product Robert Gamez were among 120 players competing for 16 spots at the 120-player Columbus, Ohio, Sectional at Brookside Country Club. Gamez missed qualifying by one stroke.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.