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UM’s Kyle Mueller, MSU standouts inch closer to U.S. Open

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

It’s going to be a busy month for some of the state’s top collegiate golfers.

The No. 1 golfer at Michigan and two members of the Michigan State team were among five players who advanced out of local qualifying for the U.S. Open on Monday at Muskegon Country Club.

Michigan senior Kyle Mueller and Michigan State freshman James Piot and sophomore Kaleb Johnson were two of the co-medalists after shooting 69s, along with Hudsonville’s Matt Harmon, a Michigan State alumnus. Lansing’s Dan Ellis, a Michigan State alum, was the fifth and final qualifier after shooting 70.

For Mueller, Piot and Johnson, this is the start of a hectic stretch. Mueller was an individual qualifier for the NCAA Championships, and Piot and Johnson are key members of the Michigan State team that earned an at-large berth into the NCAAs. All three will be participating in the Columbus, Ohio, Regional at Ohio State, starting next Monday.

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Mueller — who played in the 2016 U.S. Open, missing the cut at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club — was a first-team All-Big Ten selection for the third consecutive year, while Piot was Big Ten freshman of the year and Johnson was second-team All-Big Ten.

After the NCAAs, they will turn their attention to sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, which begins May 21 and runs through June 4, at various sites throughout the country. The U.S. Open is June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Course in Southampton, N.Y.

The USGA, which operates the U.S. Open, says there were 8,537 local-qualifier entrants, competing for 500 spots.

There is one more Michigan local qualifier, May 15 at Knollwood Country Club in West Bloomfield.