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Stellar Scores, Playoff Highlight Final Qualifying at Canoe Brook

SUMMIT, N.J. (June 3, 2024) – A 4-for-1 playoff capped off an exciting day of final qualifying from Canoe Brook Country Club, as Jim Herman outlasted his competitors to earn his sixth start in the U.S. Open Championship. This will be his first time competing at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, which hosts the 124th playing of our nation’s open, June 13-16.

Co-medalists Ben James of Milford, Conn., and Max Greyserman of Short Hills, N.J., paced the field with impressive 11-under totals over the North and South Course, while three-time Met Open champion Andy Svoboda tallied a 9-under total to earn his second consecutive and sixth career start in the U.S. Open. The 11-under medalist total is the lowest at Canoe Brook since 2017 when Daniel Chopra posted 11-under 131.

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James, a rising junior at University of Virginia, was in the picture for most of the day after opening with a 5-under 67 on the North Course. His stellar play continued into the afternoon, where he made the turn in 3-under and added an eagle on the par-5 11th to move to 10-under on the day.

“I really played the par-5s good,” said James, who was 7-under on the par-fives. “That’s just the key, giving myself easy birdie looks. I took advantage of those, and I don’t think I had a three-putt, so just two-putted a lot and played pretty conservative at times and then being aggressive—just kind of picking my spots a little bit.”

While James’ second bogey of the entire day came on the par-4 12th, he bounced back with a birdie on the par-4 13th and added one more on the par-4 18th to post 11-under.

“I’m just excited to play in a major championship,” said James. “That was always one of my goals growing up and I’ve been so close so many times. I’m going to be ready for it.”

Meanwhile, Greyserman opened his day with a 3-under 67 on the shorter South Course before heading to the North in the afternoon. The Short Hills, N.J., native and PGA TOUR rookie climbed the leaderboard quickly by making eight birdies for an 8-under 28 after starting on the 10th hole.

“I came right out and felt like everything was easy—everything was clicking, making all those birdies and I was just focusing on keep making birdies,” said Greyserman of his afternoon round. “I made the turn and was 11-under and then it was just kind of cruise control.”

For Greyserman, a recent missed cut led to some extra work with the driver, which certainly paid off.

“[The driver] is something I’ve been struggling with lately,” he said. “I did a lot of work this last weekend after missing the cut and drove it really well today—I was hitting it really far, pretty straight and had a lot of opportunities.”

With lots of high-quality Tour experience this year, Greyserman is excited for the opportunity to tee it up again with the game’s best and has a comfort level at Pinehurst based on past experience.

“I’ve been there a lot. I played a bunch of U.S. Kids tournaments there,” said Greyserman.  “I played the North-South Amateur in college and played really well there, so I think I have some good vibes there for sure. I’m excited.”

Svoboda, in his first year as head golf professional at Butler National Golf Club in Oak Brook, Ill., went 4-under in his opening nine on the North Course. Though a double-bogey on the par-3 11th set him back, he responded with back-to-back birdies and five consecutive pars to turn in a 4-under 68. In the afternoon, he tallied four consecutive birdies on Nos. 11-14 to gain momentum. He hovered around the cut line after making a trio of bogeys and one birdie, but three birdies over his final five holes propelled him to Pinehurst.

“I drove it really well, hit my irons good, and I putted really well for me today,” said Svoboda on his day. “I putted great. I did everything pretty well.”

After a drought in U.S. Open appearances, Svoboda now makes his second consecutive start in the nation’s open. He competed last month in the PGA Championship at Valhalla.

“The feeling never gets old,” he said. “It’s so hard to make these. I hadn’t made one in 10 years [until last year]. I hadn’t even made it through locals a bunch of times… I’ve never been to Pinehurst. It’ll be a dream come true to play in the U.S. Open this year.”

Herman, who competed in his first U.S. Open in 2010 and did so by qualifying through Canoe Brook, made his afternoon turn on the North Course in 2-under to remain within striking distance. His closing stretch propelled him into the playoff, making birdie on the par-3 fifth and eagle on the par-5 eighth.

“I hit a great three wood on eight on the front of the green and sometimes you roll them in,” said Herman of draining what he called a 45-50 foot putt.

He had extra work to do though, as Michael Miller of Brewster, N.Y.; Peter Bradbeer of Rosemont, Pa.; and Mexico’s Raul Pereda all came in at 7-under 135 for the day.

Bradbeer and Pereda were eliminated in the first and second playoff holes, respectively, leaving Herman against Miller on the par-5 12th hole of the North Course. After Herman found the back greenside bunker to a left hole location, Miller slid his second shot out to the right, leaving plenty of green to work with. However, his third carried deeper than intended, and nearly ran off the green. Herman faced a challenging bunker shot on a downhill lie, but left his birdie look inside Miller.

“I was just trying to get somewhere on the green, if we got it inside of him, that would be fantastic. My caddie, Nick, made a great read and I was able to finally get one started on the right line, with good pace and right in the middle.”

Herman, who spent several years as an assistant golf professional in New Jersey has felt at home competing at Canoe Brook, having now advanced to the U.S. Open four times from the site, plus one additional time from the Purchase, N.Y., qualifying sites of Old Oaks and Century. Now, he’ll go from familiar to new, having never made it to Pinehurst.

“Somehow, someway, I’ve been a professional for many, many years—and an am, I’ve been playing golf since I was a junior—and never made it to Pinehurst. It’s going to be great.”

Canoe Brook was one of 10 sites hosting final qualifying on Monday. Nine took place across the United States with one contested in Canada. Final qualifying already took place in Japan; England; and Dallas, Texas on May 20, with PGA TOUR player Brandon Wu of Scarsdale, N.Y., advancing from Dallas.

The U.S. Open is making its fourth appearance at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club.