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Three locals ready for U.S. Open; my winner pick

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on June 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm with No Comments »
June 15, 2011 4:41 pm

This week: The 111th U.S. Open, Thursday through Sunday, Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Md.

In the field: Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, Tacoma’s Michael Putnam and Olympia’s Andres Gonzales.

World rankings: Moore is 42nd, Putnam 341st and Gonzales 918th.

Moore at the U.S. Open: This is his sixth appearance. His best finish was tied for 10th (2-over 282) at the 2009 tournament at Bethpage Black in New York. He earned a spot in this week’s field this based on his top 30 finish in the FedEx Cup playoffs in 2010, and his top-50 world ranking.

Putnam at the U.S. Open: This is his third appearance. His best finished was tied for 55th (22-over 302) at the 2007 tournament at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania. He earned a spot in this week’s field based on his tied-for-third finish at U.S. Open sectional qualifying outside Memphis, Tenn.

Gonzales at the U.S. Open: This is his first appearance. He earned a spot in this week’s field based on his tied-for-third finish at U.S. Open sectional qualifying outside Memphis, Tenn.

Tee times Thursday: Gonzales at 9:40 a.m. PDT off the 10th tee; Putnam at 9:51 a.m. PDT off the 10th tee; and Moore at 11:08 a.m. PDT off the 10th tee.

Three others to watch:

* Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland: High draw shape off the tee, and rising talent makes him the talk this week, even after Masters final-round misery in April.

* Hunter Mahan, Colleyville, Texas: Shot final-round 62 last time a big tournament was held here – 2009 AT&T National – and is due for major breakthrough.

* Phil Mickelson, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.: A five-time U.S. Open runner-up, he is the last American to win a major – and he is flying under the radar, at least for Phil.

TNT pick: If a learning experience comes from losing a tournament in the final round, then Dustin Johnson (last year’s U.S. Open) and McIlroy (this year’s Masters) should benefit. So should Nick Watney, of Las Vegas, who lost the lead at last year’s PGA Championship. Of the three, he is the only one who has won a tournament this season. He is long off the tee, and his improved chipping and putting make him a major champion this week.

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