by staff–26 May ’21
After two days where play was interrupted due to weather, Wyoming golfers John Murdock and Kirby Coe-Kirkham completed play at the 2021 U.S. Open final qualifying event in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday. Only the top 10 individuals in the field of 115 professional and amateur golfers at the Dallas Final Qualifier earned qualifying spots into this year’s U.S. Open. Neither Murdock nor Coe-Kirkham finished in the Top 10, so their pursuit of this year’s U.S. Open ended in the final qualifying round.
Murdock concluded the 36-hole event with an even-par total of 142. Coe-Kirkham finished at 146 (+4). The cut for the Top 10 qualifying spots was 138 (-4). Murdock opened with a round of 73 (+2) on Monday. He concluded with a 69 (-2) to finish at even par for the event. Coe-Kirkham shot a 76 (+5) on Monday, and followed that up with a 70 (-1) to end the event at 146 (+4).
Matthias Schmid of Maxhuette, Germany, and Matthew Sharpstene of Asheville, N.C., tied for the top qualifying positions at 133 (-9). Both are amateurs. Schmid earned Honorable Mention All-America honors in 2020 at the University of Louisville. Sharpstene played his first three college seasons at West Virginia, before transferring to Charlotte for his senior season in 2020-21.
According to the U.S. Open website, there were 8,680 individuals who were scheduled to play in 108 local qualifying events this year, with only 500 of those players advancing on to the final qualifying round. Murdock and Coe-Kirkham were among that elite group of 500 individuals to advance to the final qualifying round.
Murdock tied for second in the Walnut Creek U.S. Open Local Qualifier in Westminster, Colo., firing a 71 (-1). Coe-Kirkham shot a 72 (Even) in regulation and tied with two other individuals for fifth place. Since only a maximum of five individuals could advance to the final qualifying round from the Walnut Creek Local Qualifier, Coe-Kirkham had to win a playoff against Kory Harrell of Denver and Daniel Sutton to earn the fifth and final spot on the third playoff hole.
After earning two of only five individual qualifying spots at the Walnut Creek Golf Preserve Local Qualifier in Westminster, Colo., on May 10, Coe-Kirkham and Murdock both advanced to the 2021 U.S. Open Final Qualifying round.
There are 156 spots available in this year’s U.S. Open, with 49 of them already filled with exempt players. The individuals who qualify in the Final Qualifying tournaments will play in the 2021 U.S. Open. The 121st U.S. Open Championship will be played June 17-20, 2021 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif.
In addition to playing their collegiate golf at the University of Wyoming, both Murdock and Coe-Kirkham are Wyoming natives. Murdock is from Laramie, and Coe-Kirkham is from Sheridan. Murdock concluded his collegiate career in the 2018-19 season and has served as a graduate assistant coach for the Cowboys the past two seasons. Coe-Kirkham completed his sophomore season this past season of 2020-21.
This week’s qualifying event in Dallas marked Murdock’s third time moving past the local qualifying round into the final qualifying round for the U.S. Open. He previously played final qualifiers at the Portland Golf Club in Portland, Ore., and at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla, Wash. Coe-Kirkham played in his first final qualifying round of a U.S. Open this week.
The Dallas Final Qualifying event was one of only 10 U.S. Open Final Qualifiers in the United States, with an additional 11th qualifier in Japan. The Japan qualifier was also played on May 24. The other final qualifying events in the U.S. will be played on Monday, June 7.
The Dallas Athletic Club in Mesquite, Texas, featured two courses, the Blue and Gold Courses that were redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in the late 1980s. The courses were originally designed by Ralph Plummer. Nicklaus won the PGA Championship at the Dallas Athletic Club back in 1963. This week’s qualifying event saw the competitors play one 18-hole round on the Blue Course and one on the Gold Course.