June 5 (Reuters) - U.S. Presidents Cup captain and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker came out of semi-retirement to seek a spot in the first U.S. Open to be played in his home state and realized his goal on Monday at a qualifying event in Memphis.
The 50-year-old Stricker shot rounds of 67 and 65 for a 10-under-par 132 that assured he would be one of nine players from the event who advanced to the year's second major, which will be played from June 15 to 18 at Erin Hills.
Stricker, who is 84th in the world rankings, was denied a special exemption to the U.S. Open and so ramped up his schedule this year with hopes of playing his way into an event that will be held about a 75-minute drive from his home.
A 12-times winner on the PGA Tour who has made three Ryder Cup teams and will captain the U.S. Presidents Cup squad in September, Stricker has played eight events on tour this season, registering one top-10 finish.
Stricker, who is certain to be a big draw at Erin Hills and is fully exempt to play in his first U.S. Senior Open in late June, was among 902 golfers competing in sectional qualifiers in 10 different locations for 72 spots at the U.S. Open. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Nick Mulvenney)