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David Duval & Tom Lehman qualify for US Open

Former major champions David Duval and Tom Lehman had cause to celebrate on Monday while fellow American Davis Love III and Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal missed out on qualifying for next week’s U.S. Open.

Duval, who has not won on the PGA Tour since the 2001 British Open, was among 17 players in a field of 120 at Brookside and The Lakes courses in Columbus, Ohio who secured spots.

The former world number one carded rounds of 66 and 69 to qualify for his first U.S. Open since 2006.

“I’ve made no bones about it, I think the two Opens (the U.S. and British) are the two most important tournaments of the year,” the 37-year-old Duval told reporters. “I am excited about how I’m playing… so I’m looking forward to it.”

Lehman, British Open champion at Royal Lytham in 1996, also advanced in Columbus after shooting successive scores of 67.

American George McNeill (65, 67) and amateur Kyle Stanley (62, 70) led the way in the 36-hole qualifier with South Africans Charl Schwartzel and James Kamte among those also earning spots.

Australian James Nitties sealed the final place available at Brookside and The Lakes by squeezing through a nine-way sudden-death playoff.

There was disappointment, though, for former major winners Love, Olazabal and American Lee Janzen who all failed to qualify in Columbus.

Love, whose only major victory came in the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot, ended up two strokes short of joining the playoff for the last spot, ending a run of 18 consecutive U.S. Open appearances.

Janzen, a twice U.S. Open champion, was a further two shots back, one ahead of double U.S. Masters winner Olazabal.

U.S. Ryder Cup player J.J. Henry and Britain’s Martin Laird were among 13 players who made it through from a field of 112 at Germantown and Ridgeway courses in Memphis, Tennessee.

Long-hitting John Daly, a twice major champion, and Germany’s Alex Cejka failed to advance there.

Eight-times PGA Tour winner Fred Funk, aged 52, became the oldest qualifier for this year’s U.S. Open when he booked his place along with six others at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland.

Sixty-three spots were up for grabs in sectional qualifying at 13 venues on Monday for the second major of the season.

The U.S. Open will be held for the second time on Bethpage’s Black Course where world number one Tiger Woods will defend the title he won last year in a playoff at Torrey Pines.


June 9, 2009

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