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Tom Kitequalifies for US Open

Former champion Tom Kite qualified for a 33rd appearance at the U.S. Open on Wednesday after finishing joint first with Charleton Dechert at the rain-delayed sectional qualifier in Richmond, Texas.

The 54-year-old Kite, who counts the 1992 Open among his 19 PGA Tour victories, posted rounds of 68 and 71 on the par-72 layout as he and Dechert earned the two available spots from the sectional.

Kite will be making his 32nd consecutive Open start when he tees off at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York on June 17 after he last had to qualify in 1976.

He competed twice as an amateur while playing college golf at the University of Texas and received a special exemption into last year's field but missed the cut.

"I'm ready to go," Kite said.

The sectional, held at the Shadow Hawk Golf Club, was extended by one day due to a six-hour rain delay on Tuesday that allowed the competitors to finish just 18 holes of the scheduled 36.

"The rain delay was more difficult to endure than if we would have played all 36 holes (on Tuesday)," Kite said.

The 26-year-old Dechert posted identical rounds to Kite to ensure a first Open appearance.

"I'm very excited," Dechert said. "This will be my first major event as a professional and I hope to do well."

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