Duval, absent from the last two Opens, made the grade Monday in the 36-hole sectional qualifier at Brookside and The Lakes courses. The 121-player field included 61 PGA Tour players. Many were coming off four grueling days at the Memorial Tournament but figured it was worth it to get to play at Bethpage Black in two weeks.
You look at whats at the other side of it, said Duval, who hasnt won since the 2001 British Open. You dont have much of a chance to win if you dont tee it up on Thursday there.
Lee had earned an automatic U.S. Open berth last summer by becoming the youngest player to ever win the U.S. Amateur. But when he turned pro this spring, he was forced to give up his spot. He shot a 3-under 69 in the morning at the Lakes and then an even-par 72 at Brookside in the afternoon.
Asked if he was disappointed, the South Korean-born, New Zealand-raised 19-year-old said, A little bit, but thats golf. I need to practice harder and hopefully Ill do better.
Tom Lehman, who picked up $18,600 for finishing tied for 45th at Muirfield Village on Sunday, held up the packet given to each of the Open qualifiers and said, This is worth way more than the paycheck from yesterday at the Memorial.
Two amateurs were among the 17 players grabbing spots in the Open at the Columbus sectional. Kyle Stanley, a Clemson golfer who was second in the NCAA medalist race last week, shared medalist honors with pro George McNeil at 12-under 132. Stanley had 10 birdies and no bogeys in a 62 at The Lakes in the morning.
Make par and dont make any big numbers, Stanley said of his approach to the second 18. I knew I didnt have to really shoot a great number to get through.
Other qualifiers included Bo Van Pelt, James Kamte, Lucas Glover, Charl Schwartzel, all at 133; 1996 British Open champion Lehman, J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore (134); and Matthew Bettencourt, John Mallinger, Oklahoma State collegian and amateur Rickie Fowler, Ben Crane, Craig Bowden and Ricky Barnes (135).
Nine players went to a playoff to decide the final Open slot, with James Nitties, John Senden and Dean Wilson birdieing the first hole. Nitties then birdied the second playoff hole, with Senden parring and Wilson making bogey. Senden will be the first alternate and Wilson the second out of the sectional.
A year ago, Rocco Mediate survived a playoff in Columbus to grab one of the last qualifying spots for the Open at Torrey Pines. Tiger Woods, battling a painful knee injury, had to hit a pressure-packed birdie putt on the 72nd hole to tie Mediate and force an 18-hole playoff. Woods then held off Mediate a day later in sudden death.
Van Pelt qualified for his third U.S. Open ' all of which have been in New York. He previously made the cut at both Shinnecock in 2004 and Winged Foot in 06.
Im a New York kind of guy, I guess, from Indiana by way of Oklahoma, the Richmond, Ind., native said with a laugh.
One of the best stories of the Open figures to be Kamte, a native of South Africa who had never been in the United States until two weeks ago. He received a sponsors exemption to play in the Memorial Tournament but missed the cut after rounds of 77 and 78.
He was excited to be headed for Bethpage Black after rounds of 68 at Brookside and 65 at The Lakes.
My second tournament, he said. Gosh, I cant believe it.
Among the notables missing out in qualifying were 1997 PGA Champion Davis Love III, two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen, two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal and NCAA medalist Matt Hill.