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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Curtis to play in U.S. Open qualifier Monday

By Marla Published: June 4, 2011

Stow resident Ben Curtis has played in every U.S. Open since 2004. But his participation in this year's event June 16-19 at Congressional Country Club depends on how he fares in Monday's 36-hole qualifier at Brookside Country Club and The Lakes in Columbus.

Shooting 69 in Saturday's third round of the Memorial Tournament, Curtis didn't plan to get in some holes at either qualifying course over the weekend.

"I don''t want to put too much pressure on myself, if I don't make it it's the end of my year, my career's over or something like that,'' Curtis said at Muirfield Friday.

Curtis last missed the U.S. Open in 2003, which came before his victory in the British Open at Royal St. George's.

He did not qualify for the 2011 Masters, which broke what he called ''a nice streak.''

The U.S. Open ''is hard to get into, that's for sure,'' Curtis said. "I had a five-year luxury. In '08 I had a great year, so that got me in everything for another year.

"Last year was the only year I had to qualify and made it.''

Curtis knows what kind of test Congressional (in Bethesda, Md.) will be.

It's a nice course, ''if you like par that's difficult,'' Curtis said. "It is a great golf course. Hopefully the greens will be good.''

Curtis said he heard the par-4 17th hole that has been converted into the 18th hole is now 530 yards.

"It's back at the fence now,'' he said.

He's also trying to keep from thinking about what will be sort of a title defense at Royal St. George's. So he's considering it just another tournament at the moment.

"I kind of want to get that tunnel vision,'' he said.

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