The sun may have risen on the career of Bio Kim and set on the career of Chris Riley on Monday.
They were just two of the 102 who played at Newport Beach and Big Canyon country clubs in one of 11 qualifying events for next week's U.S. Open golf tournament. These events are warmup agony to the real thing. That will be next week, at Merion, Pa., starting June 13. It will be, as always, 72 holes of pain and suffering.
Five golfers won the opportunity to be tortured at Merion by the U.S. Golf Assn., which would use land mines to set up its courses if allowed to. Kim was the best, shooting 62 in the morning at Newport Beach and 71 in the afternoon at Big Canyon. That was 10 under par.
Ninety-seven more, including Riley, will be pain-free next week and, most likely, miserable about that. Riley shot an opening 67 at Newport Beach, then disintegrated to an 81 at Big Canyon. That was five over par.
U.S. Open qualifying day is always long, dramatic and fascinating. That Kim, an unheralded 22-year-old from South Korea via Irvine, could be 15 shots better than Riley, a 39-year-old recent PGA Tour regular and Ryder Cup player from San Diego, is testament to that.
Kim said afterward, "I wasn't thinking much about qualifying. I just let things happen."
Riley said afterward, "I'm at the end of my career."
There are a million stories in the naked city and several dozen at each of these qualifiers.
In 2008, Rocco Mediate barely got in, almost deciding to leave the course before getting a shot in a playoff. Only a limping Tiger Woods stopped Rocco's run after that.
Last year, Dennis Miller, a club pro from Youngstown, Ohio, got in as a last-second alternate, then made the Big Torture when his final putt in a playoff stopped at the edge of the cup, then dropped in as Miller turned and walked away in frustration.
Beau Hossler of Rancho Santa Margarita qualified as a 16-year-old two years ago, then made it again last year and actually held the tournament lead at Olympic Club for about 15 minutes. Monday, Hossler, now a member of the University of Texas team, shot 72-83, 11 over par and 88th out of the 102.
Kim started with three birdies at Newport Beach, then maintained his composure on the more difficult Big Canyon layout to coast home.
"I got a lot of help from my caddie," he said.
According to Kim, Tim Silverman not only kept him loose on the course, but taught him lots about the game and, as a longtime friend, even taught him some English.
"He would have me say bad things to random people," Kim said. "I learned the language fast."
Kim got his PGA Tour card through qualifying school in 2010, then finished 171st, losing the card. He now plays on the Web.com tour. Missing the cut in the last event allowed him time to get back to the West Coast for practice rounds for this qualifier.
"I was driving the ball lousy," Kim said, "so those wide-open fairways at Newport Beach really looked good."
He made five putts of more than 10 feet in his morning round.
Riley had a similar nice time at Newport Beach, and was still in contention when he got to the par-four 17th hole, his eighth at Big Canyon. He drove it left out of bounds, took a seven and then hit his drive out of bounds right on the next hole for a double-bogey seven.
That was a front nine of 43, and when he took a seven on No. 2, his likely last shot at another U.S. Open berth — his fourth — was gone.
"Two O.B.'s, two shots in the water," Riley said. "That's 81 and out."
Riley has spent much of the last decade on the tour. He won the 2002 Reno-Tahoe Open, had varied success all the way through 2011 and has made more than $11 million on the tour.
He is best remembered as the player who was characterized as saying he was too tired to play an afternoon round in the 2004 Ryder Cup with his partner, Tiger Woods. The U.S. lost that Ryder Cup and Riley, the apparent victim of a misunderstanding, was thrown under the bus in the unhappy aftermath by captain Hal Sutton.
He laughs at that now and says he is happy, has two small children and took a shot at the qualifying because "I could drive up the coast from home."
Young pros Steven Alker of Fountain Hills, Ariz., and Roger Tambellini of Scottsdale, Ariz., grabbed the two spots right below Kim with six-under scores.
That left a three-way playoff for the other two, and that was settled on the second playoff hole when Jesse Schutte of La Quinta hit his second shot into the water, opening the final two spots to amateurs Cory McElyea of Santa Cruz
and recent NCAA champion Max Homa of the University of California and Valencia.
Each was overjoyed. So was the USGA to have them.