Golf: St. George's Jay Don Blake qualifies for U.S. Open at age 54

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Ten years after playing in what seemed likely to be his last major tournament, Jay Don Blake is headed back to the U.S. Open.

The St. George resident and former Utah State golfer became one of the biggest stories of Monday's sectional qualifying, held at 11 sites around the country. The 54-year-old Blake earned medalist honors at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis, claiming one of the two available spots by shooting 71-68.

That performance came one day after Blake finished second in a Champions Tour event at Des Moines, Iowa.

Blake's last appearance in the Open came in 2003, when he was among the opening-round leaders with a 66. He was bothered by a neck injury the rest of the week and finished in a tie for 64th place at Olympia Fields Country Club near Chicago. His highest finish in the Open was a tie for sixth in 1992 at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Blake likely will be the oldest player in the field next week at Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia. BYU golfer Cole Ogden narrowly missed joining him. Ogden shot 69-70 to finish seventh at Newport Beach, Calif., missing a playoff for the last spot by one stroke.