Andrews Takes U.S. Open Detour To Alaska For Qualifying

Tegan Andrews was hopeful this finally would be the year he advanced out of first stage to earn a shot at final qualifying for the U.S. Open, and that’s how it turned out.

It’s just not the way he imagined.

The plan was for Andrews, who grew up in Agoura Hills, California, to return to nearby La Purisima Golf Course where he previously tried local U.S. Open qualifying. He felt confident there having just won the Lompoc City Championship.

One problem.

“Pretty typical college story,” said Andrews, a junior at Cal State-Fullerton. “I procrastinated. I was late to sign up. I realized I didn’t have enough cash, and when I finally had enough (the entry fee is $200), everything was full.”

He beat the deadline to enter by three days. By then, he said the 10 qualifying sites from San Diego to the Central Valley were already filled. He would have to go elsewhere and dip into his airline mileage.

“I knew I was going to be flying. So I thought if I fly, I’m going to the coolest state I could go,” Andrews said.

Cool, indeed.

He chose Alaska, the final local qualifier on May 22 with only 16 players at Palmer Golf Course battling for one spot. La Purisima had 90 players for five spots.

Andrews said the temperature was in the mid-50s, but Palmer is flanked by Matanuska Glacier and the Knik Glacier, and wind ripping through the pass made it feel close to freezing.

“It was blowing. The greens were as good as they could be for only being open three weeks. They just took the tarps off them,” he said. “I was prepared for bumpy greens.”

He made enough of them for a 72, nearly avoiding going out-of-bounds on the last hole, and he won the qualifier with three shots to spare.

“I had the time of my life,” he said. “I had the trip of my life.”



Andrews grew up on mostly public golf courses in the Los Angeles area. He is a long shot to qualify for the U.S. Open on June 15-18 at Los Angeles Country Club. Then again, the U.S. Open is all about big dreams.

He will be in larger — and certainly more elite — company.

For now, he is scheduled to be on another flight, this time to Ohio. Andrews is part of the 120-man field in Columbus that currently has 29 players who have won on the PGA Tour, four major champions and Ryder Cup captains Zach Johnson and Luke Donald.