SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – In less than a year’s time after concluding an illustrious collegiate career, former Kentucky men’s golfer Chip McDaniel has ascended the professional golf ranks into major championship status. McDaniel tied for first in a sectional qualifying event in Springfield, Ohio, on Monday to earn one of five automatic qualifying positions to next week’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
The road to the U.S. Open concludes with sectional qualifying, the final stage for the U.S. Open hopefuls. Played over 36 holes in one day, sectional qualifying is a test of skill and endurance. At each of the 12 sites – one in Japan, one in England, one in Canada and nine in the United States – the number of qualifying spots is determined by the size and strength of the field.
McDaniel played with a field of 73 in Springfield, Ohio, at the Springfield Country Club for his opportunity to advance to another PGA Tour event. The Manchester, Kentucky, native fired rounds of 68 and 66 for two sub-par rounds and a 6-under score for the 36-hole tournament.
He played flawless golf with a pair of birdies during the opening 18 holes. He picked up birdies at the par-four sixth and the par-four 14th to get to 2-under. McDaniel did not commit a single error over the full 36 holes as he charted four birdies during round two for the 4-under, 66. He had birdies at the No. 4, No. 5, No. 8 and No. 13. Current UK golfer, Jacob Cook, served as McDaniel’s caddie in Springfield.
McDaniel will now travel west to appear in one of golf’s four major events at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links course. The first round begins June 13.
This will mark McDaniel’s fourth PGA event since concluding his career with the Wildcats a year ago. In April, he surged 28 spots on the leaderboard behind a 9-under round of 63 during the final round at the PGA Tour’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.
His Sunday surge in that event was the best on the course, as was the 9-under round. It marked the first top-five professional finish of his career and he took home more than $110,000 in earnings from the performance.
He made his PGA pro debut at the local Barbasol event last summer. In August, he won his first professional tournament at the Governor’s Open at Juniper Hill in Frankfort, Kentucky.
He played 133 collegiate rounds with a 72.00 stroke average. His senior season was highlighted by a victory at the Bearcat Invitational where he fired a career-low 54-hole total of 201. That marked the second-lowest score in the Brian Craig era. He matched that total at the Gary Koch Invitational where he helped UK win its fourth event of the season in a runner-up individual finish.
He helped lead the Wildcats to an NCAA Championship appearance twice during this tenure, including a Regional appearance over his final three seasons.