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Gary Nicklaus qualifies for US Open

For the 45th consecutive year, at least one Nicklaus will be in the field for the U.S. Open.

Jack Nicklaus, a winner of four Opens, will not compete this year, breaking a streak of 44 straight appearances.

His son Gary, however, had two 66s for the lowest 36-hole score Monday during sectional qualifying at The Lakes Golf and Country Club and Double Eagle Club.

"He's been working with me on my game," Gary said of his father. "He's just working with me on my game, trying to improve everything."

The elder Nicklaus watched his son play during his round at Double Eagle Club. Asked what his father said to him after his round, Gary said, "He said, 'Nice playing."'

Twenty-six players from a field of 117 in Westerville, Ohio, qualified for the U.S. Open, to be held June 14-17 at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla. There was sectional qualifying at eight other sites Monday.

Among the others qualifying at Westerville, not far from where the Memorial Tournament ended Sunday, were prominent PGA Tour players Fred Couples, Dudley Hart, Bob Tway, Brett Quigley, Tim Herron, Glen Day, Harrison Frazar, Carl Paulson, Robert Gamez, Steve Stricker, Fred Funk and Steve Lowery.

Nine players competed for the final two spots after all finished at 4-under 140. Esteban Toledo, John Maginnes and Bill Glasson each birdied the first hole and moved on in the playoff. Toledo and Maginnes each parred the second hole, but Glasson lipped out a 41/2-foot par putt. He will be the first alternate from Ohio qualifying.

Nicklaus, 32, tied for 17th at 4-under 284 last weekend at his father's tournament, which is played at nearby Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Nicklaus, who will be appearing in his second Open after missing the cut in 1997, had 14 birdies and two bogeys in the 36 holes at the two courses.

Hart, Quigley and Couples all were at 135, with Todd Fischer, Sweden's Jarmo Sandelin, Mike Sposa and Chris Smith had 136s.

Those not qualifying included Joey Sindelar, Frank Nobilo, Aaron Baddeley of Australia, Billy Mayfair, John Cook, Ted Tryba and Len Mattiace.

At Atlanta

Bryce Molder, a quarterfinalist in last year's U.S. Amateur, led the four qualifiers from East Lake Golf Club with rounds of 64 and 69. Billy Andrade, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, was second after a 70 and 65.

At Dallas

Chris Wall and Clark Dennis both had 3-under 139 totals and qualified at Northwood Club along with Baylor student Jimmy Walker, who had a 141. Wall qualified despite having his driver accidentally broken when his caddie hoisted the bag over his shoulder. For the last seven holes, Wall was forced to use a 3-wood.

Ben Crenshaw, a two-time Masters champion and the captain of the 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup team, failed to qualify with a 36-hole total of 149.

At Rockville, Md.

Joel Kribel, who broke Tiger Woods' stroke average record at Stanford, and Olin Browne, who finished tied for fifth in the 1997 Open, both had 135 totals to qualify from Woodmont Country Club.

At Denver

John Douma had a 135 and Kyle Blackman a 137 to qualify from Columbine Country Club, but Craig Stadler missed by four strokes.

At Chicago

John Harris, the 1993 U.S. Amateur champion, had a 140 and was among three qualifiers from Cantigny Golf Club.

At Cleveland

Bradley Klaprott had a 137 and Chad Campbell had a 139 to qualify from Kirtland Country Club.

At Los Angeles

Thongchi Jaidee of Thailand, the No. 2 money-winner this year on the Asian tour, shot a 4-under 138 to lead four qualifiers at the El Caballero Country Club. Charles Kang, one of the three who finished at 139, had seven consecutive 3s in his second round.

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