Tyler Light, who lived in Little River for about 18 months to further his golf career before moving in February 2016, was one of five alternates who earned entry Monday into this week’s 117th U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
Light was the first alternate from his sectional qualifying site in Springfield, Ohio, where 77 players competed for four spots and he shot a 6-under 66-68–134 to finish a shot out of a tie for fourth. He prevailed in a playoff to earn the top alternate spot.
Light, 26, is a native and resident of Massillon, Ohio, who played at Division II Malone University in Canton, Ohio. He had full status on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada in 2015 while based in Little River and made three cuts in 11 events while ranking fourth on the tour in driving distance with an average distance of 323.3 yards.
Light moved to Lantana, Texas, from Little River to live at the home of a family that hosted him during a mini-tour event. He did not advance through the First Stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament last October and is playing on the GPro Tour based in North Carolina and Buckeye Tour based in Ohio while also entering PGA and Web.com tour Monday qualifiers.
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He is competing in his first U.S. Open and is one of 21 players who advanced through both local and sectional U.S. Open qualifying this year.
The USGA reserved six spots through the weekend for players who finished the week in the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking and aren’t otherwise exempt for the tournament. Because only Englishman Chris Wood filled the criteria at No. 60, that opened the door for five alternates.
The alternate pecking order is determined by Jeff Hall, the USGA’s Managing Director of Rules and Open Championships, who ranks the 12 sectional qualifying sites – 10 domestic and two international – by strength of field.
The Columbus, Ohio sectional was deemed the strongest field, so that site’s first alternate, Michael Putnam, got into the U.S. Open when Ryan Moore withdrew Thursday. Light’s sectional was deemed the fourth strongest.