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Top class field set for Barclays Classic

The spectre of the U.S. Open will loom large as a top-quality field assembles for this week's Barclays Classic at Westchester Country Club.

With the year's second major championship being held next week at Winged Foot Golf Club five miles down the road, nine of the world's top 10-ranked players are in the field to hone their games.

Masters champion Phil Mickelson, the world number two, Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, David Toms, Adam Scott and David Howell represent golf's elite.

World number one Tiger Woods, the only top-ranked absentee, returns to competition at Winged Foot for his first appearance since his father died last month.

Sweden's Carl Pettersson arrived at this parkland course on a roll following his victory in last week's Memorial Tournament.

"I still can't believe it," said Pettersson, who pocketed more than $1 million and gained a berth in the U.S. Open with his triumph in Jack Nicklaus's event at Muirfield Village.

Pettersson putted brilliantly on his way to claiming his second U.S. PGA Tour victory.

"It's just like any part of the game, once you start doing something well, you usually are very confident in that area of the game, and it can carry over here," the 28-year-old said.

Still, the burly Swede who now makes his home in North Carolina, said golf was difficult to predict.

"Golf is such a strange game, anything can happen," he told reporters on Tuesday. "One day you can shoot 62, the next day you can shoot 84. One day you've got it and one day you might not. But hopefully, sometimes you can get into a run where everything is kind of clicking."

Pettersson, who went to college at North Carolina State, said he was excited about playing the U.S. Open but would first focus on the Barclays.

"A friend of mine who went to NC State is a member there (Winged Foot), so all I've heard is how tough it is," the Swede said. "So I'm kind of looking forward to playing it to see how tough it is."

June 7, 2006


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