Former USC golfer Crocker a U.S. Open qualifier

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DALLAS — Sean Crocker found form at just the right time and qualified for his first U.S. Open, among 13 players in Dallas and three in Japan who earned spots at The Country Club next month.

The 36-hole qualifiers were the first of 11 that will fill the field for the U.S. Open, to be played June 16-19 outside Boston.

Crocker, born in Zimbabwe and raised in California through his college years at USC, had gone nine straight tournaments on the European tour without making a cut until a tie for seventh in Belgium last week. He flew to Texas and delivered rounds of 64 at Royal Oaks and 67 at Lakewood Country Club.

He was joined at 11-under par by Kurt Kitayama, Matthew NeSmith and Jinchiro Kozuma, who missed the cut at the PGA Championship and stayed in the region for the U.S. Open qualifier.

Mackenzie Hughes was among four Canadians who qualified in Dallas. Travis Vick, who plays at Texas and reached the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur last summer, was the lone amateur to qualify. Dallas was one of the larger fields because of the PGA Tour event at Colonial this week.

Graeme McDowell, who won the Open in 2010 at Pebble Beach, missed the 6-for-2 playoff in Dallas by one shot. Matt Kuchar also failed to qualify and is likely to miss the U.S. Open for the first time in 15 years.

Tomoyasu Sugiyama, Daijiro Izumida and Todd Sinnott of Australia were the three who qualified in Japan.

The other nine qualifiers will be June 6, the Monday before U.S. Open week.

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