(June 6, 2012) -- Former McLennan Community College golfer Cole Howard shot 73-70 – 143 at the U.S. Open Sectionals on Monday at the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., to secure a spot in this year’s U.S. Open to be held June 14-17 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Howard was one of only seven players from the Woodmont sectional to secure a spot in the field of 78 for The Open. The sectionals are open to all players with a handicap index of 1.4 or better. This year, 9,005 players entered for a chance to make the field.
While playing for the Highlanders from 2004-06, Howard was a two-time NJCAA All-American and recorded nine top-10 finishes. He then transferred to the University of North Texas, where he had five top-5 finishes and recorded a 73.5 stroke average.
He began his professional golf career following his graduation from North Texas in 2008. He has played on the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series and the NGA Hooters Tours, claiming the 2011 Beaumont Open title, the only victory of his professional career. He also served as a graduate assistant at North Texas for one year and as a volunteer coach at MCC for three years.
Howard had to endure a long wait following his 36 holes on Monday to find out if he made the cut. Once he realized he was in, he immediately called his parents and then MCC coach Vince Clark.
“One of the biggest influences in my life, right after my father and my grandfather – I look at him as a friend, a brother, a dad,” Howard said. “Going to McLennan was the best thing I ever did for my life, in general. Meeting him and the people down there were great.”
Howard also plans to call on lifelong friend and fellow MCC golf alum Brian Mills to caddy for him at The Open.
“It should be a blast,” Howard said.
Two other former MCC golfers have recently received honors. Nathan Anderson, a former NJCAA All-American playing at Texas Wesleyan University, was named a 2012 Jack Nicklaus recipient as the Golf Coaches Association of America’s Collegiate Player of the Year in NAIA. He was also named a PING First-Team All-American and set the Texas Wesleyan record for single-season scoring average at 72.08. Former player and volunteer assistant Juan Salcedo was invited to compete in the British Amateur.