UVA trio McCarthy, Kohles, James paired at U.S. Open

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

It will be a Wahoo reunion of sorts at Pinehurst No. 2’s 10th tee on Thursday afternoon when three UVA golfers will be paired in the opening round of the 124th U.S. Open.

Former Cavalier players Denny McCarthy and Ben Kohles, both members of the PGA Tour, will join rising Virginia junior Ben James for the 2:09 p.m. tee time. The grouping will continue on Friday morning at 8:24 from the first tee.

According to Keswick Club general manager and director of golf Rob McNamara, who was in Pinehurst for Tuesday’s festivities, McCarthy and Kohles were ecstatic about the pairing. McNamara, a former LSU All-American who competed in the U.S. Open, talked with the two UVA professionals during his visit. Clearly, James is excited about the opportunity to play with two of the most successful players in the program’s history.

James, who played spectacularly in the recent NCAA championships, will be making his first appearance in a major championship. The Connecticut native qualified for the Open last week in new Jersey, posting an 11-under (67-64) score during the two rounds of competition. James was named an All-American after his performance in the NCAA Tournament.

This will be McCarthy’s fifth U.S. Open (2015, 2016, 2022, 2023). The former UVA All-American made the Pinehurst field due to his top-60 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking in late May. His best finish in the U.S. Open came in ‘22, when he tied for seventh at The Country Club in Boston.

Kohles played in the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills and missed the cut. The two-time ACC Player of the Year is a 2012 UVA graduate and made the Pinehurst field as the 2023 points leader on the Korn Ferry Tour.

USA Network and Peacock will televise the first-round action Thursday, while Peacock and NBC will carry second-round play. NBC and USA will feature the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday.