Wiseman wins spot to play in U.S. Open
Many people tune in to the major golf championships for the trademark ‘TW’ logo on the cap of arguably one of the best ever in the sport of golf.
For Corydon residents and Southern Indiana, there will be another ‘TW’ to look for when the U.S. Open Championship takes place June 14 through 17 at famed Shinnecock Hills Golf Course in New York: Timothy Wiseman.
A senior-to-be at Ball State University, Wiseman earned one of 156 spots for the 118th installment of the national championship, one of four major championships in golf, and one of the biggest stages in the game. The path to the U.S. Open is challenging, but also truly an ‘open’ tournament. In local qualifiers across the country, 8,537 golfers with a 1.4-handicap or better started with the dream and Wiseman is one of 74 qualifiers turning it into a reality.
‘As a 21-year-old, no,’ Wiseman said when asked if reality has hit yet. ‘This is not easy to do, and I realize that. It’s always been a dream to play in the U.S. Open or the Masters or any PGA Tour event. It’s pretty incredible. I never thought I’d be doing it as a 21-year-old but, now that it’s happened, it’s pretty crazy, to say the least.’
Wiseman went to the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ohio, on Monday to play two 18-hole rounds against professionals and amateurs (Wiseman will participate as an amateur and not receive prize money). Sixty-five were in the field vying for five spots. Among them was Brian Stuard (who qualified as well) playing alongside Wiseman, who most recently played the previous weekend in the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament, placing tied for 70th.
The Sectional Qualifier, on the par-70 course, saw Wiseman turn in a 2-under par 68 during his first round. The start to his day wasn’t the best, making a bogey on the opening hole, a par-4. He later moved to red numbers with birdies on Nos. 15 and 17 (he played the back nine first).
‘I three-putted my first hole and made bogey,’ Wiseman said. ‘It actually settled me in. I felt really relaxed the rest of the day after that hole. I felt I had nothing to lose. It was a sense of calmness that really helped … It was a pretty solid day. I rolled in a few birdies to get in a groove.’
The second 18 saw Wiseman hold steady to card three birdies and the same bogeys for an even par 70. Sitting near the cutline, Wiseman had to wait out the rest of the field to finish.
‘Up until my final hole, I was pretty calm,’ he said. ‘I was playing solid and making some putts. I bogeyed my last hole, so I knew I was close to the cut line. From that point forward, it was nothing but butterflies. It was pretty wild.’
Wiseman stayed in the clubhouse to cool down and hydrate while his older brother and caddy, Tommy Wiseman, scouted the field as they finished.
When the final scores came in, Wiseman had to compete in a playoff against two professionals ‘ David Gazzolo (Web.com Tour) and Corey Conners (PGA Tour) ‘ for the final two spots.
All three bogeyed the first hole then the drama unfolded on the next. Conners and Wiseman had similar par putts, around 4 feet to 5 feet from the cup after Gazzolo made birdie. Conners went first and missed left, while Wiseman stepped up and smoothly rolled the ball in the cup for the final spot.
‘Our par putts were really close, and we couldn’t decide who was out,’ Wiseman said. ‘We settled on him, and I knocked mine in after he missed.’
After the make, the Wiseman brothers embraced as the next stop will be the U.S. Open.
‘We’ve been together as player-caddie at other tournaments, and we have gotten a lot more comfortable with each other,’ Timothy said. ‘It’s special to do this with my brother. He deserves credit because he helps me a lot. We bounce ideas off each other, especially if I have an idea for a crazy shot; he can keep me in check with what I need to do. We try to play the best percentage play. I did that successfully today because of him.’
Wiseman will be in the field with Tiger Woods, the other ‘TW’ who has won the event three times, the last in 2008.
‘It got up to 130, 140 messages and I have 15 waiting for me,’ Wiseman said about checking his phone on his drive home Monday night.
The Local Qualifier, played May 14, took place in Muncie at Delaware Country Club, one of Ball State’s home courses. Wiseman placed second (68), earning one of four spots at the Sectional Qualifier level.
Playing with Stuard on Monday gave Wiseman added belief he could play with some of the best.
‘I was following him for a bit at the PGA Tour event at Memorial last week,’ Wiseman said. ‘It was cool to play with somebody who just came from a PGA tournament. He ended up beating me by one, but it was cool to compete against a guy like that who is on tour. It was satisfying.’
Dylan Meyer, a recently turned pro from Evansville, made the field as well. Ironically, Meyer and Wiseman were paired together in high school at the 2014 Indiana High School Athletic Association state finals where they finished third and fifth, respectively.
‘I knew how good he was then,’ Wiseman said of Meyer. ‘He’s continued his success, and now I’m sharing some of that same success he is having to a certain degree. To both do this is pretty cool.’
It was a special day in golf for the Wiseman family. The youngest of three brothers, Joey Wiseman, won IHSAA sectional medalist honors at Fuzzy Zoeller’s Covered Bridge Golf Club. Zoeller was a two-time PGA major champion from New Albany.
The greens at Springfield Country Club were among the hardest Timothy has played but will give him a taste of what could come at Shinnecock Hills.
‘The greens were funky, probably the funkiest I’ve seen in my life,’ Wiseman said of Springfield. ‘The way they were sloped and the severity of them made it crazy.’
Before Shinnecock, Wiseman said he is still entered to play in the annual Old Capital Invitational on Friday and Saturday in Corydon, a tourney he won in 2015 as an 18 year old.
‘I plan on playing,’ Wiseman said. ‘I don’t think we will head to New York until Sunday, which gives me plenty of time to play in the Old Cap. That tournament is still one I love playing in.’
Now, the field will say they took a run at a U.S. Open participant.