Fran Quinn (57) Qualifies for Hometown U.S. Open, Credits Son

Fran Quinn, of Holden (MA) at age 57 is the oldest player in the field and will be one of the hometown favorites in the 122nd U.S. Open at The Country Club June 16-19. (AP Photo)

WORCESTER, Mass – At age 57, Fran Quinn Jr. of Holden will be the oldest golfer to play in the U.S. Open next week at The Country Club in Brookline in his home state of Massachusetts.

And he has his son Owen to thank for it, at least in part.

In March, Owen called his father to tell him he was considering playing in the U.S. Open local qualifier at Taconic GC in Williamstown. Quinn told him he thought Taconic was a great venue and that he’d love it. Then he told Owen to enter him in the qualifier as well.

The Quinns both shot 1-over 72 to share second place in the qualifier and advanced to the final stage of qualifying Monday in Purchase, N.Y. Fran shot a pair of 1-under 69s and then birdied the second playoff hole to earn the right to play in the U.S. Open June 16-19. Owen shot 70-74 to fall short of the playoff, but he was happy for his father.

Fran Quinn and son Owen both advanced to U.S. Open Final Qualifying with same score at same site while dad Fran advanced to the 122nd edition of the U.S. Open.

“Owen came over and he hugged me,” Quinn said. “He had tears in his eyes and he told me, “Dad, I’m so proud of you.’”

If Owen hadn’t called him to tell him he was going to play in the local qualifier at Taconic, Quinn wouldn’t have considered playing as well and he wouldn’t be headed to the U.S. Open.

“No chance I would have gone,” he said. “It’s destiny, yeah, for sure.”

At 57, Quinn is the oldest player to advance through the local and final qualifying stages since Brian DePasquale, USGA senior manager of championship communications, began keeping records in 1997. The previous oldest was Wes Short Jr., who was 52 in 2016.

Quinn is five years older than Jim Furyk, the second oldest golfer who will play in the U.S. Open at TCC. Phil Mickelson will turn 52 next Thursday June 16, the day of the opening round. Neither of them had to play in qualifiers.

Over the last 40 years, only six golfers who were older than Quinn, who is 57 and three months old, have played in the U.S. Open, but none of them had to qualify either. Arnold Palmer played at age 64, Raymond Floyd at 61, Tom Watson at 60, Jack Nicklaus at 57 and nearly five months, 58, 59 and 60, Allen Doyle at 57 and 10 months and 58, and Kenny Perry at 57 and 10 months.

Qualifying to play in the U.S. Open in his home state ranks among Quinn’s top thrills in golf.

With his wife Lori on the bag, Fran Quinn survived an 8-for-3 playoff at Final Qualifying to earn a spot at The Country Club June 16-19 in the U.S. Open.

“It’s got to be up there,” he said. “It’s a thrill, it’s exciting and when I look back at it when I’m done playing professional tour golf, I’m sure it will be right there at the top. Right now, I’m still trying to write the final chapters of my book.”

After undergoing shoulder surgery and being away from the game for a year and a half, Quinn has played a lot of golf the past couple of years with his 23-year-old son, who turned pro last year, and his son’s friends.

“He’s hugely instrumental in my comeback,” Quinn said, “because he’s the youth, he’s the kid who bombs it, he hits it hard and he’s kept pushing me. I play with him and all his young buddies who have turned pro and I’m able to compete with these kids.”

This will be Quinn’s fifth U.S. Open and his first since 2014 when he also qualified at Purchase, N.Y. At Pinehurst, N.C., that year with Owen as his caddie, he shot an opening-round 68 to share second place and became a media sensation. He finished tied for 55th on a memorable Father’s Day.

Beginning Friday, Quinn will play in the PGA Tour Champions event in Madison, Wisconsin, the American Family Insurance Championship. His wife, Lori, has caddied for him the past two years in PGA Tour Champions events and caddied for him on Monday. She’ll also carry his bag in the U.S. Open. They plan to commute 40 miles to TCC from their home in Holden next week unless Quinn has an early tee time. Then they’ll stay closer to the club.

Fran made the cut at the 2014 U.S. Open, able to share a memorable Father’s Day walk up the 72nd hole with Owen by his side.

“It’s a fun story and I’m happy I’m part of it,” he said. “It’s a dream.”

On Monday, there was an eight-man playoff for the final three of the five qualifying spots.

After everyone in Quinn’s foursome parred the first playoff hole, they had to wait half an hour to see what the next foursome did before they moved on to the second playoff hole. Quinn’s 57-year-old back locked up. With the help of a Theragun massage device, he was able to continue.

On the 590-yard, uphill par-5 18th, he laid up on his second shot to 98 yards, then hit a sand wedge to within two feet and tapped in the birdie putt. Two of his playing partners also birdied, 20-year-old amateur Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley and pro Brandon Matthews of Dupont, Pa., who had played golf at Temple University under the coaching of Quinn’s brother Brian.

After everyone in the second foursome parred 18, Quinn, Thorbjornsen and Matthews earned the right to play in the U.S. Open.

“I expect to play very well,” Quinn said. “We’ll wait and see how all that pans out, but I have high expectations.”

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Bill Doyle brings 45 years of professional sports writing experience to New England dot Golf. His resume includes 40 years as a sports writer for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette where he wrote a Sunday golf column and covered professional and amateur golf. He also wrote about all four of the major professional sports teams in the Boston area, mostly about the Boston Celtics, as well as college and local sports. Working for the newspaper in the city where Worcester Country Club hosted the inaugural Ryder Cup in 1927, Doyle covered the improbable comeback of the U.S. team at the 1999 Ryder Cup at The Country Club in Brookline. He also covered the 1988 U.S. Open at TCC, the 2001 and 2017 U.S. Senior Open championships at Salem Country Club, the U.S. Women’s Open championships at The Orchards in South Hadley in 2004 and at Newport Country Club in 2006, the PGA Tour stops at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton for nearly 20 years and at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, for several years; and every PGA Tour event at TPC Boston in Norton from the inaugural event in 2003. He will provide regular contributions ranging from interviews, travel, lifestyle, real estate, commentary and special assignments. Bill can be reached at

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