MG: Former Maverick Zach Fischer qualifies for US Open
June 4, 2013
By Michael Eldridge | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas - Zack Fischer's summer of accomplishments went into overdrive when he became the second former UT Arlington golfer to qualify for the U.S. Open. Fischer defeated PGA Tour veteran Ryan Palmer in a playoff that spanned two days and concluded Tuesday morning.
Fischer's birdie on No. 18 completed 12 holes of sudden-death playoff golf for the last U.S. Open spot at a sectional qualifier that began Monday at Lakewood Country Club in Dallas. The playoff went eight holes Monday before being suspended for darkness, with Fischer and Palmer resuming play Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. at No. 10.
Fischer joins Jordan Spieth, Matt Weibring and Ed Loar as U.S. Open qualifiers out of the Dallas sectional. The Open runs June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. There were 13 sectional qualifying sites, 11 in the United States.
"It's great. It's fantastic. It's going to be amazing," Fischer told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Fischer, 23, matched scores for eight holes Monday and another three holes Tuesday with Palmer, a three-time PGA Tour winner and Colleyville resident. The deciding shot - an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th - finally proved the difference.
Fischer made several dramatic putts just to keep the playoff alive, including a 25-footer to force an 11th playoff hole. The 12 playoff holes were one hole longer than the longest sudden-death playoff in PGA Tour history. (The PGA Tour doesn't keep comprehensive records for the longest playoff in a qualifier.)
Fischer shot a 4-under 67 in the opening round before a 3-under 68 left him tied with Palmer after 36 holes.
The U.S. Open continues the momentum of what's been breakout summer for Fischer. The Texarkana native tied for 68th at the Byron Nelson last month, earning his first PGA Tour paycheck. The 2011 graduate is the second former UT Arlington golfer to make a cut on the PGA Tour and qualifying for the U.S. Open with Greg Gregory.
Fischer competed for UT Arlington from 2007 to 2011. He also competed at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the Valero Texas Open, failing to make the cut in each. The 23-year-old from Texarkana competed on the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series in 2012. He competed in six events and finished as high as second, firing a 13-under 275 at the Mary Bird Perkins Merrill Lynch Open.
As a Maverick, Fischer was an All-Southland Conference selection, a Ping All-Central selection, and qualifier for the NCAA regionals.
The U.S. Open continues the momentum of what's been breakout summer for Fischer. The Texarkana native tied for 68th at the Byron Nelson last month, earning his first PGA Tour paycheck. The 2011 graduate is the second former UT Arlington golfer to make a cut on the PGA Tour and qualify for the U.S. Open with Greg Gregory.
Fischer's success resonates with UT Arlington program and coach Jay Rees, who has made plans to attend the U.S. Open.
"I'm very close to Zach. He's like a brother to me," Rees said. "He continues to play great golf since turning professional. Making the cut at the Byron Nelson and making his largest check was exciting for all our UTA Golf family. I have told many people that one day we are going to have guys on the PGA Tour. He carries the flag for the UTA Golf family.
"We also have guys winning mini-tour events like Zack Reeves, Bobby Massa and Bryce Easton. What is so cool is these guys won championship here together. They played on the same teams. These guys have a lot of potential, and I keep telling all of them that more wins are coming.
"What I'm really proud of is we are building a golf tradition here at UTA that many people can be proud of. It makes me feel really good."
Pairings for the 113th US Open will be announced on Friday.