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It may not feel like it outside today in many parts of the country, but the USGA has announced the local qualifying process for the upcoming U.S. Open Championship. Online player registration for the 2014 U.S. Open begins the first week of March (https://champs.usga.org/index.html). Local qualifying will be conducted over 18 holes at 111 sites in 42 states, will take place between May 2-19. All entrants will be vying for a coveted spot in the The U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, in Village of Pinehurst, N.C., on June 12-15.

“The U.S. Open’s local and sectional qualifying process is the most democratic in that every amateur golfer who meets the USGA Handicap Index requirement can compete for a spot in the championship field,” said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. “Two-tiered U.S. Open qualifying could not be conducted without the tremendous partnership and expertise provided by state and regional golf associations, and we are grateful for their continued support.”

Those players who advance out of local qualifying will compete in sectional qualifying, which will be conducted over 36 holes at 10 U.S. sites on June 2. For the 10th consecutive year, Japan and England will host international sectional qualifying, both scheduled for May 26.

Several local exemptions for the U.S. Open have been amended and will take effect in 2014. The top 500 point leaders and ties from the Official World Golf Ranking (as of March 3) will be exempt. Any player in the OWGR’s top 500 (as of April 21) who has filed an entry prior to the deadline of 5 p.m. EDT on April 23, will also earn a local exemption. Only the top 150 point leaders were exempted in previous years. In addition, any player who has had multiple finishes in the top 400 of the year-ending OWGR in the last five calendar years (2009-2013) will be exempt from local qualifying. To be eligible, a player must have a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional.

In 2014, five clubs are hosting U.S. Open local qualifying for at least the 10th consecutive year. Illini Country Club, in Springfield, Ill., has held a U.S. Open local qualifier since the late 1940s, while Maketewah Country Club, in Cincinnati, Ohio, has been a site for more than four decades. Riverton (Wyo.) Country Club and Genoa Lakes Golf Club, in Genoa, Nev., have hosted local qualifying since the 1990s. Collindale Golf Course, in Fort Collins, Colo., has also hosted for at least a decade. Thirty-nine courses return as U.S. Open local qualifying sites from last year.

Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., the site of the 1958, 1977 and 2001 U.S. Opens, is hosting one of this year’s U.S. Open local qualifiers.

There are 16 local qualifying sites in the state of Florida, with the first of the scheduled qualifiers at The Club at Admirals Cove’s East Course in Jupiter on May 2. Fourteen local qualifiers are scheduled in California.

Ken Venturi (1964) and Orville Moody (1969) are the only players to win the U.S. Open after qualifying through both local and sectional play. Last year, 20 players advanced through local and sectional qualifying to the 156-player U.S. Open championship field at Merion Golf Club.