Mueller, Watkins give EV folks another reason to root at U.S. Open - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Mueller, Watkins give EV folks another reason to root at U.S. Open

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Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2012 6:38 pm | Updated: 7:57 pm, Sat Jun 16, 2012.

With Phil Mickelson’s early struggles at the U.S. Open on Thursday, not to mention Billy Mayfair and Paul Casey, there’s room for another local guy to root for in San Francisco this weekend.

Former Red Mountain and Arizona State golfer Jesse Mueller qualified for the major a couple weeks ago, and is taking his hacks with the world’s best at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

Mueller qualified the hard way through sectionals in Ohio completed on June 4. He was one of 16 players to qualify in that fashion.

His former peer at Alta Mesa Golf Club, Aaron Watkins, is also playing in the Open, and was in solid positioning at +2 after Thursday's first round.

Mueller attended Red Mountain from 1998-2001, where he helped the Lions win three team state championship in four years under the old Class 5A.

He became the second-youngest player to ever win the Arizona Amateur championship in 2001 at age 18, and went on to Arizona State where he earned his marketing degree in 2005, but not before he lowered his 18-hole average from 75.74 to 72.78 by the time he graduated.

Mueller, 29, enters the U.S. Open on a high note. He won his first tournament and a cool, $150,000, at the Midwest Open in Nebraska three weeks ago as part of the GOLFWEEK Pro Tour. He played three steady rounds of excellent golf while posting a one-stroke victory with a 14-under-par 274, hopes to qualify for the PGA tour at the Q-school in October for the eighth time. Or, at least, earn a spot on the Nationwide Tour.

A solid showing in a PGA Tour major can only help that cause.

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