Casey Martin, coming off his best Nike Tour finish since his season-opening victory, hoped to take advantage of a break from the United States Golf Association to qualify for next week's U.S. Open.

Martin, allowed to use a cart by the USGA following a federal court ruling against the PGA Tour, was one of 69 players vying for five spots in a 36-hole sectional qualifier today at Clovernook Country Club.Martin, who has a circulatory disorder in his right leg, was to make his way around the course in a one-seat cart instead of the standard two-seat model he has been using on the Nike Tour.

"This is where we felt we wanted to go," said Craig Smith, manager of media relations for the USGA. "We've sent him pictures of it and literature on it. If he qualifies, he needs something that's light enough to go on the fairways. With this, he can drive right to the collar of the green."

The U.S. Open is June 18-21 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Officials provided extra work room for the media and roped the course to control crowds.

"The USGA has told us to anticipate a crowd of up to 5,000 people," said Bill Rhodenbaugh, a sectional committee member for the USGA. "Casey draws a lot of non-golfing public and a number of handicapped fans."

Officials also set up viewing areas for the handicapped around the No. 1 tee and the No. 18 green.

Martin played in the Nike Miami Valley Open in nearby Springboro on Sunday. He tied for eighth place, his best finish since winning the Lakeland Classic in January.