HIGHLAND — The two “old guys” who hardly ever play in golf tournaments, prevailed in a sudden-death playoff Monday afternoon at the U.S. Open local qualifying event at Alpine Country Club.
Randall McCracken, the 47-year-old former University of Utah coach and Todd Miller, the 38-year-old Director of Golf at BYU, advanced along with three younger players to the sectional stage of the U.S. Open qualifying. If any of the five can get through the sectional, they’ll be teeing it up at the U.S. Open in New York next month.
Former University of Utah golfer Brandon Kida, who grew up in Layton, had the low round of the day with a 6-under-par 66 at Alpine. BYU sophomore Rhett Rasmussen and Weber High golfer Connor Howe both finished with 67s to advance.
McCracken and Miller, the youngest son of Hall of Fame golfer Johnny Miller, both shot 69 along with former Utah State golfer Seokwon Jeon, who now works as an assistant pro at River Oaks.
On the first hole of their sudden-death playoff to determine the last two qualifying spots, Jeon hooked his drive into the creek on the left out of bounds. That took the pressure off McCracken and Miller, who made par and bogey, respectively, while Jeon made a triple bogey.
McCracken was thrilled to make it out of local qualifying for the fourth time, but said, he “hated to win that way,” seeing Jeon get into trouble off the tee. McCracken had lost in several playoffs at the U.S. Open qualifier several times, including twice before at Alpine.
Miller said he talked to his dad before teeing off and Johnny’s advice was to “tee it low and keep it in play,” which Miller did. Miller has made it through local qualifying once before and would love to add a U.S. Open to U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur experiences a couple of decades ago.
McCracken and Miller are both professionals, but neither has played in any tournaments during the past two years except for the U.S. Open qualifier.
The 25-year-old Kida played the four par-5s in 5-under par, including an eagle-3 at No. 6 where he chipped in from 30 feet. Kida played in California and Arizona and missed by one stroke in qualifying for the Canadian Tour over the weekend.
Just missing out on qualifying with rounds of 70 were BYU golfer Peter Kuest, Utah Valley golfer Jacob Godfrey, amateur Ryan Brimley and pros Curtis Garver and Justin Keiley.
U.S. Open local qualifying scores
Alpine Country Club
(Top five scores qualify for U.S. Open Sectional)
66 – Brandon Kida
67 – a-Rhett Rasmussen, a-Connor Howe
69 – Randall McCracken, Todd Miller, *Seokwon Jeon
70 – a-Jacob Godfrey, a-Ryan Brimley, a-Peter Kuest, Curtis Garver, Justin Keiley
71 – Preston Alder, Tommy Sharp, Steele DeWald, a-Hayden Banz, a-Brandon Robison
72 – a-Mitchell Schow, a-Patrick Fishburn, Jacob Holt
73 – a-Cole Ponich, a-Blake Tomlinson, a-Dane Nelson, a-Andy Hess, a-Spencer Dunaway, a-Charlie Duensing
*Lost in a sudden-death playoff for the final qualifying spot for U.S. Open sectional