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Fifteen qualify for Open after Western Open

Brandel Chamblee got a nice consolation prize for his third-place finish in the Western Open.

A trip to the British Open.

Chamblee was among 15 players who qualified for the British Open with their finishes in the Western Open. The British Open is July 19-22 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

''I thought if I came out today and shot 65 I'd have a chance to win this tournament,'' said Chamblee, who finished eight strokes behind winner Scott Hoch. ''I guess my consolation is that I qualified for the British Open, and that's certainly a big deal.''

The other players who qualified are: Bob Estes, Billy Andrade, Jerry Kelly, Dudley Hart, Kevin Sutherland, J.P. Hayes, Rory Sabbatini, Mark Wiebe, Matt Gogel, Carl Paulson, Brian Gay, David Frost, Kenny Perry and Joe Ogilvie. The PGA Tour will release the official list of qualifiers Monday.

In the past, players have had to travel to Europe for qualifying tournaments, usually held the Monday before the British Open. But in an effort to give more Americans the opportunity to qualify, the Western Open was designated as a British Open qualifier this year for the first time.

''I forgot to commit to the next week's tournament by mistake, so I said to my caddie, 'We just better have a good weekend and get a top-10 finish so we can go over to the British Open,''' Sabbatini said. ''Hey, things worked out well.''

A total of 15 spots were available at the Western, with two ways to qualify. Using earnings from The Players Championship and the five most recent tournaments - the St. Jude Classic, the U.S. Open, the Buick Classic, the Greater Hartford Open and the Western - the top seven finishers at the Western Open who didn't already have exemptions and were in the top 25 on the money list qualified.

The last eight qualifying spots were then given to the top eight Western finishers who didn't have exemptions.

''It was definitely on my mind,'' said Sabbatini, who tied with Kelly for fifth, nine strokes behind Hoch. ''I wanted to have a good round and get in the top 10 because I knew what it meant.''


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