SALT LAKE CITY — Rhett Rasmussen is going to New York.
The 19-year-old BYU golfer carded back-to-back rounds of 66 and 71 at the Lake Merced and Olympic Club in San Francisco to book a spot in this week’s U.S. Open.
“I’m pretty excited,” Rasmussen told KSL Sports by phone Tuesday night. “It was my fourth time playing sectionals, and I just wanted to get off to a really hot start. It’s really tough to claw your way back into these tournaments without a good start.”
The BYU junior-to-be tied for third and was one of 86 golfers to advance out of Monday’s sectional qualifier in San Francisco.
Rasmussen intentionally didn’t look at his scores during his final round at Lake Merced. But when he finished the 18th hole with a par putt, he stuck around the green to await the last two golfers on the course.
One of them had a 5-foot birdie putt that would’ve forced a playoff with Rasmussen for the qualifier spot. But when the putt didn’t drop, Rasmussen breathed a long sigh of relief.
“I knew if I made par I had a really good chance, and I was able to do it,” he said. “Watching the last two guys come in was nerve-wracking, but it ended up working in my favor.”
Rasmussen, who prepped at Corner Canyon, will join fellow Utahn Tony Finau at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club June 14-17 for the annual event. Finau will play in his second major of the year after a top-10 finish at The Masters while playing on an injured ankle.
Rasmussen will travel to New York City by Sunday afternoon in time to play three practice rounds at a PGA Tour major — something few collegiate golfers get to experience.
“I’ve never played (Shinnecock Hills),” Rasmussen said. “But honestly, the U.S. Open is very famous for fast greens and deep roughs. I’ll need as much practice as possible.
“It’s all new to me. I don’t really know what I am doing.”