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Swedes lead Congressional Open Qualification

Carl Pettersson and Mathias Gronberg of Sweden and American Spike McRoy led the way on Monday in the U.S. leg of 36-hole international qualifying for the British Open.

Pettersson (71-63), Gronberg (69-65) and McRoy (69-65) finished with two-round totals of 134 at Congressional Golf Club in Maryland as 15 qualifiers clinched their places in next month's Open at Royal Troon.

One stroke back in a tie for fourth place were Australian trio Steve Elkington (69-66), the 1995 U.S. PGA champion, Rod Pampling (66-69) and Mathew Goggin (68-67), plus American Bo Van Pelt (69-66).

Next best on 136 were Americans Tim Herron and Hunter Mahan, losing finalist at the 2002 U.S. amateur championship.

Rounding out the 15 qualifiers on 137 were Britain's Luke Donald, Aaron Baddeley of Australia and Americans Cameron Beckman, Bob Estes, Glen Day and Skip Kendall.

Twice U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen missed out on 140. Germany's Alex Cejka also failed to qualify on 138 while former U.S. Ryder Cup player Steve Pate carded a total of 145.

A field of 120 was initially meant to be chasing the 15 spots on offer at Congressional for the British Open but 46 players withdrew over the weekend and a further seven failed to arrive for their Monday teeoffs.

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

The 36-hole qualifying tournament at Congressional was one of five which took place around the world between January and June.

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

The final two qualifiers were played on Monday at Congressional and at Sunningdale Golf Club in England.

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

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