Sumner’s Brian Thornton has been trying to get to a U.S. Open for years.
And now heading to his 40th birthday in August, he has adopted a familiar mantra in qualifying for the national championship of golf.
“It’s the Russell Wilson slogan – ‘Why not me?’” Thornton said. “I’ve always believed in (getting there).”
The teaching professional from Meridian Valley Golf Club survived a five-man-for-three-spots playoff Wednesday at the U.S. Open local qualifying tournament at Tumble Creek Club in Cle Elum.
On the first playoff hole, Thornton rolled in a 12-foot putt for par to secure one of the six berths into U.S. Open sectional qualifying June 2 at Emerald Valley Golf Club in Eugene, Ore.
Oddly enough, the last time Thornton reached this stage of U.S. Open qualifying was at the same sectional site in 2008. He finished two shots out of earning a berth.
Thornton was in good shape most of Wednesday – except that he missed two 6-footers on the 17th and 18th holes for par, and suddenly fell into a playoff at 1-under-par 70.
The five golfers played the 18th hole again. And after missing his second shot right of the green, he chipped to within 12 feet.
“It was a putt that broke a foot-and-a-half,” Thornton said. “I drained it. Once I did that, I knew I was either moving on or I’d at least get to the next hole.”
Two of the golfers after him missed putts for par, and Thornton was through to the next round.
Canadian Tour golfer Matt Marshall was the medalist at 67. Spokane’s Corey Prugh, the brother of PGA Tour golfer Alex Prugh, was a stroke back at 68.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org @ManyHatsMilles