PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) Jason Millard was disqualified from the U.S. Open on Saturday after reporting a self-imposed penalty for grounding his club in a bunker in sectional qualifying.
''We commend Jason for bringing this matter to our attention,'' said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and chairman of the championship committee. ''At this time, we have no recourse but to disqualify him under the Rules of Golf and specifically Rule 34-1b.''
Millard, a former Middle Tennessee State player who qualified in Memphis, Tennessee, with two rounds of 68, was playing his third shot on the 18th hole on Colonial Country Club's North Course - his 27th hole of the day - when the penalty occurred.
''I'm pretty sure I grounded my club in the bunker,'' Millard said. ''I didn't see anything for sure, but I felt something and I saw a small indentation. It happened so fast, I really don't know 100 percent, but deep down, I believe I did. I couldn't find peace about it. For five days, I practiced and I couldn't get it off my mind. It's heart-breaking, but what I was feeling in my heart didn't feel right. It's the right decision and I am sticking with it.''
Millard was replaced in the field by Sam Love of Trussville, Alabama, the second alternate from the Memphis qualifier. Love recently completed his senior season at Alabama-Birmingham.
The U.S. Open begins Thursday at Pinehurst No. 2.