PINEHURST, N.C. -- 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 per cent, 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.