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Perk of playing 72 holes at the U.S. Open

LA JOLLA, CALIF.--Besides, of course, the pride of having made the cut at a major championship, playing on the weekend at the U.S. Open has a variety of tangible benefits for Derek Fathauer, Michael Thompson and Rickie Fowler. One in particular will be very helpful to the first two, who have just finished up their college careers at Louisville and Alabama and will be turning pro during the summer: Under PGA Tour rules, anyone who plays 72 holes in a major, whether they're a professional or amateur, is exempt through the pre-qualification and first stage of tour qualifying school, whether they're a professional or amateur when they use the exemption.

No doubt when there college buddies are sweating just advancing into the second stage of Q school, Fathauer and Thompson can look back on their second-round 73s at Torrey Pines' South and realize just how big they stepped up.

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