One day after missing a chance to automatically qualify for the U.S. Open, Alexander Levy went out and did it the old-fashioned way.
After losing the U.S. Open berth that comes with being ranked in the top 60 in the world with a T-51 finish at the BMW PGA Championship, Levy led all players at the sectional qualifier on Monday in England, carding rounds of 66-67 on the Old and New Courses at Walton Heath.
The Frenchman's 14th birdie of the day came on his final hole, and got him to 11 under, one shot ahead of Inda's Shiv Kapur.
“I’m really happy. I played really good golf for the two 18 holes. I was positive and had a good attitude. It’s nice to play the US Open. I was a little upset to slip out of the top 60 before Wentworth so it’s great to now get in," Levy told the European Tour. "It will be my first time in the US Open. I missed the Masters, so it will be great to play in another major.”
Filling out the rest of the qualifying spots for June 18-21 at Chambers Bay were Kapur, John Parry, Alex Noren, Lucas Bjerregaard, Jason Palmer, who is known for chipping one-handed, Marcel Siem, Tjaart Van Der Walt, Garth Mulroy, Thomas Aiken, and Marcus Fraser.
As always, the real drama surrounded those who just squeaked in the Open. In this case, there was a five-man playoff for the last four spots, with Van Der Walt - who had two eagles and a birdie on his final six holes just to get into the playoff - making it through, along with Mulroy, Aiken and Fraser. Welshman Oliver Farr was the odd man out.
Two of the biggest names in the qualifier, Padraig Harrington and Peter Uihlein, the latter of whom won the 2010 U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay, missed out on the playoff by a shot. Harrington, a three-time major champ and the winner earlier this year at the Honda, bogeyed his final hole and it's very likely that he will not be at the U.S. Open for the second straight year.
"It was disappointing to bogey the last. I nearly walked off after four holes this morning so I was surprised to have a chance at all," said Harrington. "It was nice to get a run going on the back nine. It’s one too many, so it is disappointing, especially after making a few birdies and getting inside the mark."