June 3, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. - Former Cal men's golfer James Hahn won his first Nationwide Tour event on Sunday when he defeated Scott Parel at the Rex Hospital Open by tapping in a birdie putt on the par-five ninth and second playoff hole. Hahn shot a five-under par 67 on Sunday at the TPC Wakefield Plantation course and had a 72-hole total of 13-under par. The victory vaulted him to No. 5 on the Nationwide Tour's money list in 2012.
"This is amazing," Hahn was quoted saying on the Nationwide Tour website. "I did not look at a single board all day. I didn't even know my own score. They told me I was at 13-under and I should stick around."
With three groups to finish behind him, Hahn figured somebody would beat his total. In fact, he had already changed into tennis shoes in the parking lot to head to the airport for a 5:55 p.m. ET flight to get back to California for Monday's U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Lake Merced Country Club/TPC Harding Park in Daly City.
"I kept thinking about the qualifier all day. I guess it freed me up today," said Hahn. "I've dreamt my whole life of playing in a U.S. Open. I've never been in one. I can't tell you what it would mean to play at Olympic. I grew up on that course."
Hahn, who played for the Bears in 2000-01 will be one of five Cal men's golf affiliates to play in U.S. Open sectional qualifiers Monday. He will tee it up Monday along with fellow former Cal golfer Michael Jensen and current Cal golfer Max Homa at the Lake Merced Country Club/TPC Harding Park site. Hahn will start his day at 7 a.m. PT at the 10th hole at Lake Merced.
Sectional qualifying is the final stage before U.S. Open hopefuls get to the championship itself. The USGA offers 13 sectional sites - 11 in the U.S. that will take place Monday and two overseas in Japan and England that have previously taken place. Nearly 1,000 golfers will compete Monday at one of the 11 U.S. sites in a one-day 36-hole event at the sectional qualifying level for the approximately 75 remaining available spots in the U.S. Open.