CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Former Western Carolina men's golf All-America selection and current PGA TOUR rookie J.T. Poston earned his spot into the United States Open this week as the individual medalist in sectional qualifying in Columbus, Ohio. Poston, who is inside the top 100 on the FedEx Cup rankings, will compete in his first major next week at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.
Poston carded consecutive rounds of 66 between the Brookside and The Lakes courses, posting a two-day total of 132 to edge Jason Kokrak and Bud Cauley by a stroke to sit atop the leader board. His only bogey among the 36-hole competition came at twilight on the final hole Monday. All told, he carded a total of 13 birdies and 22 pars for the 12-under par round.
“It's pretty exciting to play in a U.S. Open, our home major. I watched it as a kid and it will be great to be in that atmosphere,” Poston was quoted as saying in a story published by the USGA.
Originally from Hickory, N.C., and now playing out of St. Simmons Island, Ga., Poston finished ahead of several big names in the golf community, including Cauley, a 2009 USA Walker Cup player, PGA TOUR pros Keegan Bradley – the 2011 PGA Champion – and Jamie Lovemark, and two USGA champions in Peter Uihlein and Scottie Scheffler, who was the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, among others.
Poston is the first Catamount men's golfer to earn a spot in the prestigious U.S. Open Championship field. He has played in 19 events on the Tour this season with one career top-10 finish at the Puerto Rico Open, while also making headlines with an early lead at the most recent Dean & Deluca Invitational.
A four-year starter in Cullowhee, Poston finished as Western Carolina's all-time career stroke average leader at 71.73, holding the top two single-season scoring averages, including a school-record 70.27 in 2013-14 and a 71.13 as a senior in 2014-15. The 2014 Southern Conference Men's Golfer of the Year and two-time SoCon champion, Poston was an All-America selection both as a junior and senior. He played in a school-best three NCAA regional tournaments, and in 2015 became WCU's first men's golfer to advance into the championship event.
The 117th U.S. Open Championship is scheduled for June 15-18 with the practice rounds to be held June 12-14 at the Erin Hills Golf Course in Erin Hills, Wis. It is the first time the championship has been played in the state of Wisconsin. Erin Hills has hosted two additional USGA Championships, including the 2009 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links and the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship.