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Olin Browne shoots 59 in US Open qualification

Olin Browne fired a sizzling 59 on the final day of sectional qualifying to secure one of 22 U.S. Open berths up for grabs on Tuesday at the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland.

Browne, who has two PGA Tour victories, sealed his spot with a birdie-eagle-eagle finish for a 36 hole total of 10-under 132 to earn a ticket to the year's second major at Pinehurst in North Carolina from June 16-19.

J.P. Hayes topped the field of 156 with a two-round score of 13-under 129.

The 36-hole qualifier was scheduled to take place on Monday but thunderstorms postponed play for a day.

Former PGA champion Steve Elkington of Australia, Tommy Armour III and Rocky Mediate also earned spots while Tom Kite, winner of the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and Mark O'Meara, U.S. Masters and British Open champion in 1998, failed in their last bid to secure a place in the field.

Also carried over was the qualifier at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia where 77 players -- including former U.S. amateur champions Matt Kuchar and local favourite Derek Brown of North Carolina -- were battling it out for six berths.

Both men carded final rounds of 66 to advance, Brown leading the way with nine-under 131 while Kuchar clinched the sixth and final spot with a 135 total.

Two other sectional qualifiers were being played on Tuesday, in Tampa, Florida and in Kansas City, Missouri.

Lee Rinker had rounds of 69 and 67 at the Old Memorial Golf Club to claim the first of three available qualifying spots in Tampa.

Twice U.S. Masters champion Bernhard Langer was among 47 players who booked berths on Monday.

Langer carded successive rounds of 67 at Brookside Country Club and The Lakes Golf and Country Club in Columbus, Ohio to earn an Open spot for the 20th time.

Also progressing were 1986 U.S. PGA champion Bob Tway and multiple PGA Tour winners John Cook and Scott McCarron but Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal, Swede Jesper Parnevik and former major winners Paul Azinger and Jeff Sluman missed out.

This year, for the first time, two of the sectional qualifiers were international.

Ono Golf Club near Kobe in Japan hosted a qualifier eight days ago when Australia's Steven Conran, South Korea's Yang Yong-eun and Keiichiro Fukabori of Japan secured the three spots available.

On Monday, Walton Heath Golf Club on the outskirts of London, England also staged a qualifier with New Zealander Michael Campbell and Swedes Peter Hanson and Robert Karlsson among nine players booking places at Pinehurst.


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