Wisconsin native Steve Stricker earns berth into US Open to be played in home state

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Steve Stricker always knew he would have to take the toughest road to make it into the first U.S. Open in his native Wisconsin. That made it all the more rewarding when he earned his place at Erin Hills through a 36-hole qualifier Monday.

And the 50-year-old Stricker did it in style.

More than just earning one of the nine spots in the Tennessee qualifier, Stricker closed with a wedge to tap-in birdie range to cap off a 67-65 day and finish first among the nine qualifiers.

“It means a lot,” Stricker said. “It’s been at the forefront of my thinking for a while now. It’s kind of a relief knowing I got in on my own terms. I went through qualifying. I’d rather have it that way. I’m glad I did it this way.”

The U.S. Open starts June 15 at Erin Hills, a public course built on pristine pastureland in Wisconsin that only opened in 2006.