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Consolation prize: Hearn earns trip to St. Andrews

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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. – David Hearn was denied his maiden victory at The Greenbrier Classic, but he did leave with a consolation prize in the form of a trip to the Open Championship.

Hearn carded a final-round 67, joining Danny Lee, Kevin Kisner and Robert Streb in a sudden-death playoff. After he and Lee both opened the playoff with a birdie, Hearn found trouble off the tee on the second extra hole and Lee left with the trophy.

Hearn finished T-32 last year at Royal Liverpool, and he earned one of four spots available this week for the season’s third major.

“I’ve been a pro for a long time, and to get into majors like this doesn’t happen as much as you might think,” said Hearn, who also lost in a playoff at the 2013 John Deere Classic. “For top-tier players it seems to happen a lot, but for guys like myself, sort of plugging along, this is an amazing opportunity for me to get to St. Andrews.”

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Lee also earned a spot with his breakthrough win and will be making his first start in the Open later this month.

“I’m just very excited to play in another major,” Lee said. “The U.S. Open was a little bit tough for me. I got my ass kicked there. Hopefully I’ll do a lot better at this one.”

The other two spots went to James Hahn and Greg Owen, who headlined the group at 11 under, two shots out of the playoff. They edged out Andres Romero, Bryce Molder and Chad Collins for the final spots based on their OWGR standing entering the week.

Collins held a share of the lead after 70 holes, but he finished bogey-bogey to miss out on a trip to Scotland. Hahn, a winner earlier this year at the Northern Trust Open, will be making his first Open Championship appearance, while Owen will tee it up for the eighth time but only the second since 2007.