U.S. OpenJune 17, 2015

Here's what we're willing to wager that an amateur makes the cut at Chambers Bay

Having not been given formal approval from my wife, I cannot officially wager my house on the following statement. I do, however, have slightly more authority over my daughter's doll house, so I will put that up right now as collateral.

An amateur will make the cut this week at the U.S. Open!

How can I be so certain as to risk the tears and misery of snatching my little one's favorite play thing if I am wrong? I offer three key factors that provide me the courage of facing my daughter's wrath.

I'll start with history. At least one amateur as made the cut in 16 of the last 19 U.S. Opens. Nine times in that span (and six times in the last seven years, two or more have gone on to play four rounds in the national championship.

Then there's sheer numbers. There are 16 amateurs competing this week at Chambers Bay,  the most to play in the U.S. Open since 2009 and the most before that since 1981. I don't even pull out the transitive property from my bag of mathematical magic, but rather can evoke the basic logic that with more amateurs in the field, the more chances I have that at least one of them will make the cut.

Third, and most important, is this: these amateurs are pretty darn good. Several have already played in major championships and even made the cut in previous U.S. Opens. All of them legitimately have a chance to shine this week.

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Who then, will be the man (or men) that make certain my little princess has a roof for her dollies come Monday? Here's my break down of the players (and school names for collegiate golfers) into categories of confidence, with 5 being most likely to make the cut and 1 being least likely.

Daughter dollhouse confidence level: 5

*Bryson DeChambeau, 21, Clovis, Calif. (SMU)

Ollie Schnierderjans, 22, Powder Springs, Ga. (Georgia Tech)

Lee McCoy, 21, Athens, Ga. (Georgia)*

This trio of first-team college All-Americans all have pro-ready games, DeChambeau showing that just last week when he finished T-45 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic on a sponsor's exemption. The SMU junior is the hottest amateur in the field, also coming off a victory at the NCAA Championship. Schnierderjans was the No. 1 ranked amateur at the end of last summer and will also play in next month's British Open before likely turning pro. McCoy, whose fairway dribbling video from Chambers on Tuesday went viral, has one more year with the Bulldogs and is hoping to wrapped up a spot on the 2015 U.S. Walker Cup team with his performance this week.


Daughter dollhouse confidence level:__ 4

*Beau Hossler, 20, Mission Viejo, Calif. (Texas)

Sam Horsfield, 18, Manchester, England (Florida starting in the fall)

Matthew NeSmith, 21, North Augusta, S.C. (South Carolina)*

If Hossler's name is familiar, it's because as a high schooler competing in the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club, he found his way on to the leader board Saturday and entered the final round in eighth place before stumbling Sunday with a 76 to finish T-29. This is the third time that Hossler has qualified for the U.S. Open in the five years. Horsfield is considered one of England's top up-and-comers, although he has lived and played in the U.S. during his high school years. NeSmith was the AJGA player of the year in 2012 and has returned to his top form this spring, winning the SEC Championship in April.

Related: Who has the most at stake at Chambers Bay?


Daughter dollhouse confidence level:__ 3

*Kyle Jones, 21, Snowflake, Ariz. (Baylor)

Denny McCarthy, 22, Rockville, Md. (Virginia)

Bradley Neil, 19, Blairgowrie, Scotland

Brian Campbell, 22, Irvine, Calif. (Illinois)

Nick Hardy, 19, Northbrook, Ill. (Illinois)*

Neil and Campbell each have experience in majors, the former playing in the Masters thanks to his British Amateur win last summer, the latter qualifying for last year's U.S. Open. Both, however, missed the cut. Like Campbell, Jones and McCarthy just wrapped up their college careers this spring and a last hurrah as amateurs isn't out of the question. Hardy hopes he can channel his Fighting Illini teammate's experience into helping his own cause.

Related: The Most Polarizing U.S. Open Venues


Daughter dollhouse confidence level:__ 2

*Jake Knapp, 21, Costa Mesa, Calif. (UCLA)

Jack Maguire, 20, St. Petersburg, Fla. (Florida State)

Gunn Yang, 21, San Diego (San Diego State)

Davis Riley, 18, Hattiesburg, Miss. (Alabama starting in the fall)*

After winning the U.S. Amateur last August, Yang took a leave of absence from school to take advantage of various sponsor's exemptions he could receive into professional events. However, in six PGA Tour starts this season, Yang has made just one cut (T-65 at Colonial) and broken par in only three of 14 rounds. Knapp qualified for this year's Farmers Insurance Open, but missed the cut. He and Maguire both had solid college seasons that hinted that they could reach a stage like this. What happens once they're on it, however, is uncertain. Riley knows his way around USGA events, having played already in five and twice finishing runner-up at the U.S. Junior Amateur.


Daughter dollhouse confidence level:__ 1

Cole Hammer, 15, Houston

The mere fact that Hammer managed to qualify for the Open, the third youngest player ever to do it, speak a great deal about the young man's talent. But this stage is awfully big and it will feel even more so come Thursday.

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