Zac Blair’s initial breakthrough in pro golf came five years ago, when he qualified for the U.S. Open and tied for 40th place at Pinehurst in North Carolina. He never returned to PGA Tour LatinoAmerica after the summer break in the schedule, and was playing the PGA Tour by that October.
The Orem resident is headed back to the big stage at least temporarily, from the platform of Web.com Tour membership. Blair qualified for the 2019 U.S. Open by shooting 67-67 and finishing in a tie for first place in a 73-player field in a sectional event Monday at Springfield (Ohio) Country Club. Only five players advanced from that site; Blair’s birdie-birdie finish was a clutch performance, because two pars would have landed him in a playoff. He made six birdies and three bogeys in each round.
The former Fremont High School and BYU golfer will join Lehi resident Tony Finau, who’s exempt via his top-10 finish in last June’s U.S. Open, and Sandy’s Mike Weir, who qualified May 20 in Dallas, in the field next week at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California. Blair was the only golfer with Utah ties who came close to qualifying Monday, although former BYU golfer Patrick Fishburn and current University of Utah golfer Mitchell Schow played well in their morning rounds.
Blair, who played the PGA Tour the previous four seasons, is having a solid year on the Web.com Tour. He’s No. 52 in the season standings. The top 25 finishers will earn PGA Tour cards, while the Nos. 26-75 players in the regular season will compete in the Web.com Tour Finals, with another 25 cards available.
Blair will play later this month in the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington.
Fishburn shot 70-71 to tie for 11th place, missing the cut by four strokes as three players advanced from Walla, Wash. BJ Staten, of Cottonwood Heights, posted 72-78 at that site.
Schow opened with a 66 at Newport Beach, Calif., but faded to an afternoon 74. Other Utahns playing at Newport Beach included Park City's Steele DeWald (72-72), BYU golfer Carson Lundell (75-68) and Holladay's Kenny You (81-70).
Daniel Summerhays, of Fruit Heights, shot 74-76 on a difficult course in Rockville, Md., and former BYU golfer Bobby Clampett, hoping to become a big story by returning to his native northern California at age 59, posted 79-76 at Columbus, Ohio.