Qualifying for the U.S. Open is a dream come true for Sulman Raza.
Golf has been a way of life. Back in 2011, he was described as the most interesting U.S. Junior Amateur.
Born in Lithuania, he was adopted and traveled all over the world as a kid.
“My mom taught on Semester at Sea, which is kind of like a travel abroad kind of deal for students,” said Raza. “I went with her when I was 6 or 7 years old. I went to 10 or 11 different countries and I played golf at every place we went to.”
He won a state title at South Eugene High School and drained the putt that clinched the Oregon Ducks’ first national championship.
It was a journey to make his pro debut. Burnt out from the game, he took a break and got a full-time job in Portland at Jones Sports Company as an embroidery specialist, stitching logos on golf bags and apparel. His coworkers are golfers too.
“We have a good time and laugh and enjoy ourselves when we’re out here. I feel like I have a second family here.”
The time away and comradery with his coworkers brought back his desire to play again—competitively.
Days before sectionals, he suffered an injury on the job. Unloading pallets out of a truck, he slipped and sliced his shin.
“I was freaking out because I was thinking more about if I was going to be able to play or not,” said Raza. “I started telling my boss just get me a big band-aid, I should be just fine,” Raza says with a smile.
Raza received eight staples to close the wound. He played at sectionals with the staples on his leg and shot a final round 66 to qualify for the 118th U.S. Open.
“It gave me chills for sure and it didn’t hit me until the next day when I was coming to work. I got emotional,” said Raza. “I don’t know how to put into words but it’s going to feel like a dream and something I’ll never forget. I’m going to soak it all in.”
Raza tees off at 5:57 A.M. Thursday morning