Over 9 000 enter US Open
Defending US Open champion Rory McIlroy (File)
San Francisko - The fourth-most entrants in US Open history, a total of 9 006 golfers, have been accepted for the 2012 tournament qualifying, the US Golf Association (USGA) announced on Thursday.
Tiger Woods, defending champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and English stars Luke Donald and Lee Westwood are among 53 golfers who are automatically qualified for the year's second major June 14-17 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Also included on that list are South Koreans KJ Choi and Yang Yong-Eun, Masters winner Bubba Watson, US star Phil Mickelson, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen
and Australia's Adam Scott and Jason Day
A total of 801 entries were received from 72 nations beyond US borders. The record 9 086 entries were submitted for the 2009 US Open at Bethpage Black in New York.
"It's always gratifying to see how many golfers from across the world are interested in playing," USGA executive director Mike Davis said.
"The great appeal of the US Open is that anyone can enter, provided they meet the Handicap Index standards (not over 1.4)."
Local 18-hole qualifying events will be played at 109 sites from April 30 to May 17, leading to sectional qualifying over 36 holes on May 21 in Japan, May 28 in England and June 4 at 11 US courses.
Applications were taken only through the internet, with 677 taken last Wednesday, the final day to apply, and 124 of those coming in the final hour, the last being US pro Brad Doster just 29 seconds before the deadline.
Jason May, a 38-year-old amateur from Michigan, was the first entrant on March 5.