Former University of Oregon golfer Sulman Raza is off to the 118th U.S. Open with a CBT Nuggets logo on his cap.
Finishing 5-under at the Portland sectional qualifier last week, Raza advanced ahead of 75 hopefuls to earn one of four spots at Shinnecock Hills. There he may cross paths again with another CBT Nuggets athlete and former Duck — Aaron Wise.
Though Wise dominated headlines with his individual victory at the 2016 NCAA Championship, Raza sunk the winning putt against Texas to clinch the national team title for the Ducks. Golf Week called it the “putt heard around Eugene.”
Last year, Raza clinched the individual title at the 2017 Duck Invitational with eight-under. He then went on (again) to make the decisive shots against Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt in the national quarter- and semifinals. The Ducks fell to Oklahoma in finals at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago.
After leading the Ducks into the NCAA Championships twice in his final two years at Oregon, Raza briefly played on the amateur circuit and joined Oregon’s golf staff as an intern assistant coach. He recently settled into a job at Jones Sports Company — a golf bag and apparel retailer in Tigard, Oregon.
Rising through the local and then sectional qualifiers doesn’t necessarily make him an outlier among the 156 players at the U.S. Open. However, he’ll be among the handful of amateurs at the tournament who play part-time.
As The Oregonian pointed out, a day before flying out for Shinnecock Hills Golf Club last week “Raza showed up to work at the Jones Sports Company at 9 a.m. like most people.”
Raza still trains and plays regularly. This week will mark his first U.S. Open and his first tournament sponsored by CBT Nuggets.