A month and a half ago, Wisconsin native Steve Stricker was denied a special exemption into the U.S. Open. This should not have been a huge surprise to folks as Stricker is not a major championship winner and his tie to the event is simply that he's from the same state where the tournament is being played.

Fast forward to U.S. Open sectional qualifying on Monday, and Stricker got into the U.S. Open anyway by finishing 10 under and winning the Memphis qualifier at Germantown Country Club and Ridgeway Country Club.

"It was a good day. It means a lot," Stricker told reporters after his rounds. "It's been at the forefront of my thinking for a while now. It's kind of a relief know I got in on my own terms. I went through qualifying. I'd rather have it that way. I'm glad I did it this way."

"Having Wisconsin's own Steve Stricker qualify for this year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills is really special," said USGA executive director Mike Davis in a statement. "He will bring an enormous amount of energy to the U.S. Open's first trip to Wisconsin and will no doubt be a fan favorite for his fellow Wisconsinites. Steve demonstrated his golf skills and competitive spirit in qualifying at Memphis earlier today. We congratulate his great play!"

Stricker wasn't the only recognizable name to qualify through sectionals. There are several interesting stories entering next week at Erin Hills, including a kid who just graduated high school, a handful of former college stars and the low amateur at the 2017 Masters, Stewart Hagestad, who shot 67-68 in California to make it in.

Other notables

  • Andrew "Beef" Johnston
  • Paul Dunne
  • Stewart Hagestad (a)
  • Scott Harvey (a)
  • Bud Cauley
  • Keegan Bradley
  • Scottie Scheffler (a)
  • Stewart Cink
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Peter Uihlein
  • Harris English
  • Jordan Niebrugge