Former NFL player will compete in U.S. Open qualifier at Springfield Country Club

Danny Woodhead, a former NFL football running back, tees off on the first hole during a practice round for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball golf championship, Friday, May 21, 2021, at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. The tournament is the first major USGA event hosted at the course since the 2015 U.S. Open. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

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Danny Woodhead, a former NFL football running back, tees off on the first hole during a practice round for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball golf championship, Friday, May 21, 2021, at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. The tournament is the first major USGA event hosted at the course since the 2015 U.S. Open. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Danny Woodhead trying to earn a trip to Brookline in a strong field

The road to the 2022 U.S. Open for one former NFL player includes the Springfield Country Club.

Danny Woodhead, who played running back for the Jets, Patriots, Chargers and Ravens from 2009-17, will play in the final 36-hole qualifying round at Springfield beginning Monday after advancing from his local event in Nebraska last week.

“I love the game,” Woodhead told the Boston Herald. “So It’s just something I went after, and I’ve been trying to get better, have fun with it, and compete in events,” he said. “You have to have a competitive nature when you’re in the NFL, and the next thing you know, you retire, and you don’t have any competition. So I said, well, I’ll have some fun with this. That’s how it started.”

The first groups tee off at 7 a.m. Monday. Woodhead starts play in the second group at 7:10 a.m. Woodhead’s second round starts at 12:40 p.m.

Among the other golfers in the field are:

• Brandt Snedeker, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour who tied for third at the U.S. Open in 2012.

• Carson Schaake, the medalist at the Springfield qualifier last year.

• Ohio State junior Jackson Chandler.

• Former Ohio State golfer Bo Hoag, who won the Ohio high school championship in 2006.

• PGA golfer Brian Stuard, who has had the low score three times at the Springfield qualifier (2012, 2013 and 2019).

• Robert Shelton, a three-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour.

• Mason Witt, a Greeneview High School graduate who won the Ohio state championship in 2019 and now golfs at Xavier.

There are 38 amateurs and 40 professionals in the field, according to the Miami Valley Golf Association. Seven golfers qualified for the U.S. Open in Springfield last year.

The 5-8, 204-pound Woodhead set the NCAA all-divisions career rushing record at Division II Chadron State before entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent.

He ran for 2,238 yards and 15 touchdowns while also catching 300 passes for 2,698 yards and 17 touchdowns in the NFL.

Woodhead played in the Super Bowl with the Patriots but now has his sights set on the pinnacle of golf.

If he makes it through the qualifier in Springfield, he will advance to the U.S. Open in Brookline, Mass., on June 16-19.