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Brian Stuard has played in three U.S. Opens, but never has made the cut.

He believes the fourth time could be the charm, now that he knows what to expect at what many consider the most-grueling test in professional golf.

"I think I've learned you just have to be patient," Stuard said. "You're gonna make mistakes, and make some bogeys.

"The way you deal with that is the most important thing."

Stuard, 35, the Jackson native, Oakland University alum and PGA Tour grinder, earned his ticket to the U.S. Open by finishing third in a 36-hole sectional qualifier Monday at Springfield Country Club in Ohio.

Stuard shot a 4-under 66 in the first round, and was on his way to another fine round in the second, until a late slip. He made a double-bogey at No. 14, then birdied the 15th, before bogeying the par-5 17th. That led to a 1-over 71 for a 3-under total — and the finish certainly left him concerned.

But as he waited it out in the clubhouse, nobody could bump him from the third spot, among the five players who qualified among the 65-player field.

"I was definitely worried a little bit," Stuard said. "I just kind of lost my rhythm a little bit on the second 18. Luckily, it was enough to make it through."

Several players stumbled on the second 18.

It's worth noting, playing 36 holes in a day isn't the norm.

"It's tough," Stuard said. "We're not used to it. We used to play 36 in college quite a bit, but it's been a while. It's definitely a different animal."

Stuard was the lone Michigan golfer to qualify Monday, when there were 10 sectionals around the country — with 800 golfers competing for 74 spots.

Michigan State assistant golf coach Dan Ellis and Plymouth's Kyle Rodes, an Eastern Michigan alumus, finished even-par at the same qualifier as Stuard, leaving them two shots out of making a playoff for the final spots. Ex-PGA Tour member Ryan Brehm (Michigan State) finished 3 over.

The U.S. Open is June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York.

Stuard has played in the U.S. Open in 2013, 2014 and 2017. This will be this seventh major-championship appearance. He made the cut at the 2016 PGA Championship and 2017 Masters.

On Monday, he didn't have much time to celebrate, as he was on his way to Memphis for the St. Jude Classic, his fourth event in a row (the U.S. Open will make it five). Stuard's not one to take many weeks off.

"I guess not," he said, laughing.

Stuard has made the cut in six of his last seven tournaments. For the year, he has three top-10s, and has earned $894,186.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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