NEWBERRY — Former Newberry College golf standout Matthew Campbell has qualified to compete in this year’s U.S. Open, scheduled for June 15 through June 18 in Erin, Wis.
Campbell earned one of 156 spots in this year’s tournament by finishing fifth of 80 entrants in sectional qualifying in New Jersey. Campbell scored a par on the second playoff hole to secure the final slot into the U.S. Open from the Canoe Brook Country Club site.
“I’ve been working hard to get here,” Campbell told the Rome (N.Y.) Sentinel. “This is my first time trying and I’m just pumped to be playing with and against the best in the world. This is a dream come true.”
“What a great accomplishment for Matt,” commented head coach Howard Vroon, who arrived at Newberry during Campbell’s senior season. “I’m so happy for him. He is a fantastic, incredibly skilled player. To see him perform at this level is not surprising. We wish him the very best in his adventures at Erin Hills. Playing in the U.S. Open will be an amazing experience and I trust he will enjoy every minute of it. Congratulations Matt, and Go Wolves.”
Still fighting a bad back that forced him to withdraw from last year’s qualifying tournament, Campbell finished at seven under par. Competitors played 36 holes, all on Monday, in hopes of becoming one of the five players to advance from the sectional site and earn a coveted spot in the U.S. Open. Campbell finished tied with Roberto Diaz for fifth but advanced to Erin Hills on his 38th hole of the day. Diaz will be the New Jersey site’s first alternate should one of the five entrants withdraw.
Before earning one of 72 slots up for grabs among 12 sectional qualifying sites, Campbell had to advance out of a local qualifying process that saw 8,979 total entrants.
Campbell had a storied career at Newberry and was a junior on the team that finished tied for fifth at the 2011 NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships, which stood as the highest-ever finish by a South Atlantic Conference team before the 2017 Wolves equaled that mark.
The 2011 South Atlantic Conference Men’s Golf Player of the Year, Campbell ranks third in Newberry history with a 73.70 stroke average in a school-record 107 rounds of golf from 2008-2012 and was the individual medalist at the 2012 SAC Tournament.
He was a part of two team SAC championships and two runner-up finishes, was a four-time all-SAC performer, made three South/Southeast Regional trips with the team and one as an individual, was twice an all-Southeast Region honoree, and was named an Honorable Mention All-American in 2012. He had the second-best career stroke average in SAC history at the time of his graduation behind teammate Daniel Stanley.
Campbell’s 15 career top-10 finishes rank third in school history while his two overall wins are tied for first. His .725 win-loss percentage is fourth in Newberry history among golfers with more than 20 rounds played.