High school junior golfer moves a step closer to U.S. Open

The schedule is filling for Cretin-Derham Hall junior golfer Sam Udovich.

Udovich was among five golfers who advanced in U.S. Open qualifying Monday at Troy Burne Golf Club in Hudson, Wis. He shot a 2-under-par 69 and tied for second place in the qualifier. Gophers golfer Jack Wetzel finished first with a 68. Former Gophers standout Angus Flanagan and St. Thomas player Owen Rexing also shot 69s, and Wisconsin pro Keegan Drugan shot a 70 and won a playoff for the fifth qualifying spot.

Those five advance to a 36-hole day of qualifying June 3 at any of 10 sites around the country, seeking to land a spot in the U.S. Open at famed Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C. That tournament begins June 13, the day after Minnesota's high school state championships conclude. Udovich won the Class 2A championship in 2022, when he played for St. Croix Lutheran. Cretin-Derham Hall's section tournament is scheduled for May 28.

Udovich, ranked second in the state by the Minnesota Golf Association and committed to Texas Christian for college, made four birdies in his first 10 holes Monday. He overcame back-to-back bogeys early in his back nine and saved par on No. 18 with a putt from just inside 10 feet, keeping himself out of the playoff.

"I thought I played some really good golf today, especially with my driver. That was my most confident club in the bag," Udovich told the MGA's Nick Hunter. "I'm really looking forward to moving on — it's been a while since I've qualified for a big event like this. I'm going to keep putting hard work into it and prepare myself mentally."

Udovich is also the defending Minnesota Boys' Junior PGA champion and has other accomplishments on his resumé. He won the Drive, Chip and Putt competition at Augusta National Golf Club in 2021 and advanced to the U.S. Junior Amateur the following year.

He's not the only recent Minnesota high school state champ advancing. Wetzel and Rexing tied for the Class 3A championship in 2022, Wetzel competing for Edina, Rexing for Rosemount.