Pebble Beach, here he comes: Oakland alum Brian Stuard qualifies for U.S. Open

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Brian Stuard will play in the U.S. Open.

Brian Stuard's lead-up to a Detroit homecoming just got a whole lot busier.

Stuard, the Jackson native and Oakland University alumnus, has qualified for next week's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Stuard finished Monday's two-round sectional qualifier at 6 under to finish tied for first at Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ohio. Five U.S. Open tickets were punched at that qualifier, not far from the weekend's Memorial in Dublin, Ohio.

Stuard played four rounds at the Memorial, Jack Nicklaus' tournament, where Stuard finished tied for 33rd Sunday before getting right back to work Monday.

"Yeah, it's a long day for sure, especially coming off four long days at the Memorial," Stuard said Tuesday, shortly after landing back home in Texas.

"You just kind of have to manage yourself, know you're gonna have a couple shots that go awry, and just keep positive and keep moving forward."

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Keeping positive, admittedly, isn't the easiest thing for Stuard to do. He can beat himself up on the course when things aren't going well, but he got by Monday.

He will play in his fifth U.S. Open, and third in three years.

All five, he's had to sectional qualify for; the previous four, he's missed the cut.

Making the cut and putting up a better performance is on his bucket list, and he's getting antsy, and he thinks this could be the year — given he's played Pebble Beach plenty over the years, in the early season AT&T Pro-Am.

It'll be a much tougher test for the U.S. Open of course, given the  unmerciless nature of the United States Golf Association. But still, he's optimistic.

"I'm looking forward to this year," said Stuard, 36. "I've played the course, I know this one more than then other ones. I think it'll be better this year.

"But I'm sure it's gonna be totally different. The only thing that would be helpful are the lines off the tees, just kind of knowing some of the good spots and bad spots to be."

This will the eighth overall major appearance for Stuard, who has made one cut in the Masters, and one cut in the PGA Championship.

He's having another solid year on the PGA Tour, playing in 22 tournaments and making six cuts. He has two top-10s, six top-25s and has earned $410 short of a million bucks.

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Stuard is known for playing a big, busy schedule, and it just got busier. After the U.S. Open, he'll play the Travelers Championship in Connecticut and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit from June 27-30. He'll take a week off, then play the John Deere Classic in Illinois, hoping to play his way into the following week's British Open.

This week, though, is a rare week off — one it turns out he could now use.

"Definitely," Stuard said.

Rocket Mortgage Classic

When: June 27-30

Where: Detroit Golf Club

TV: Golf Channel, CBS

Purse: $7.3 million

Twitter: @tonypaul1984