Cauley Qualifies For Open As Pro

Former Alabama golfer Bud Cauley will make his professional debut at the 2011 United States Open at Congressional Country Club next week after shooting 67-65 in his sectional qualifying event in Tunica, Mississippi, on Monday.

Cauley, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., and a three-time first-team All-America at Alabama, joined South Korea's Sunghoon Kang atop the leader board at 12-under-par 132 in one of the most difficult sectionals in the country at Tunica (Miss.) National Golf Club. It is the first time Cauley has qualified to play in the U.S. Open.

"That all really hasn't sunk in yet," Cauley told the Florida Times-Union. "What's important is I'm going to play in my first major championship. I'm pretty happy with how I'm playing right now."

Cauley finished his Alabama career as the school's first three-time first-team All-America and its career leader in scoring average at 71.39.

He was also a three-time first-team All-SEC selection, a three-time Ben Hogan Award semifinalist and a finalist in 2010. He played for the United States in the 2009 Walker Cup and won four-career tournaments with the Tide.

Along with Cauley and Kang, 10 players qualified for the U.S. Open, including PGA Tour pros Sergio Garcia (135), Brian Gay (135), Chad Campbell (135), Briny Baird (135), Andres Gonzalez (133), Michael Putnam (133), Scott Piercy (133) and Fredrik Jacobson (134). Players failing to qualify out of the Tunica Sectional Qualifier, include two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen and 2002 PGA Championship winner Rich Beem along with PGA Tour pros Chris Dimarco, Boo Weekly, Joe Durant and Bob Estes. Cauley is the first Alabama player to qualify for the U.S. Open immediately following his Alabama playing career since Michael Thompson in 2008. Thompson was the runner-up in the 2007 U.S. Amateur, which qualified him for both the 2008 Masters and U.S. Open. Thompson was low amateur at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008.

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