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Big names set for Open qualification

Half of Europe's triumphant 2002 Ryder Cup team will face the arduous task of trying to qualify for next month's British Open over 36 holes on Monday.

Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Swedes Jesper Parnevik, Pierre Fulke and Niclas Fasth and Irishman Paul McGinley are among 150 players competing for a minimum of 12 spots in the European leg of international qualifying.

Also taking part are twice U.S. Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, former world number one Ian Woosnam, big-hitting Argentina Angel Cabrera and Britain's Justin Rose.

The 36-hole qualifying tournament, to be held at Sunningdale Golf Club outside London, is one of five taking place around the world between January and June.

"The last time I had to qualify for the (British) Open was 1990 at Lundin Links," seven-times European number one Montgomerie said earlier this month.

"Thirty-six holes in a day isn't a problem. But that's just one way of qualifying, there are other ways and means."

Montgomerie and company could also book a spot at the British Open by being one of the two qualifiers from the 'mini order of merit,' which has run since the TPC of Europe in late May and finishes at next week's European Open in Ireland.

Places are also available to the leading player, not otherwise exempt, at the European Open and also at the Scottish Open, being played at Loch Lomond from September 8-11.

International qualifying tournaments have been introduced by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club to make it more convenient and less expensive for overseas-based players to qualify for the third of the year's four majors.

The first three were held in South Africa, Australia and Malaysia, with four players qualifying from each.

The final two qualifiers are being played on Monday, at Sunningdale Golf Club, England and at Congressional Country Club, Maryland in the United States.

This year's Open is at Royal Troon, Scotland from July 15-18.

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