The international sectional qualifier for next month’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay took place on Monday, the day following the European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth. Europe’s best competed for six spots into the season’s second major at Walton Heath.
Via the European Tour:
Alexander Levy earned a debut appearance in next month’s US Open Championship after finishing one shot clear of India’s Shiv Kapur, as one-handed chipper Jason Palmer secured a Major Championship debut.
Two-time European Tour winner Levy followed a six under par round of 66 on the Old Course in the morning with a five under par 67 on the New Course in the afternoon to finish on 11 under par, heading the 11 players to earn a spot at Chambers Bay Golf Club, in Washington.
A birdie on the final hole ensure he finished a stroke clear of Kapur at the top of the 82-player leaderboard to seal his second appearance in a Major Championship, after sharing 30th position in last year’s US PGA Championship.
Englishman John Parry, who finished tied 28th at Merion two years ago, finished a further shot back on nine under par, while Sweden’s Alex Noren, who was one over par after 19 holes of the 36 hole qualifier, surged up the leaderboard with eight birdies and an eagle in the space of 15 holes to earn his third US Open appearance with a closing 64 to take fourth spot on eight under par.
Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard shared fifth position on seven under par with Englishman Palmer, who ensured there will be another notable storyline to emerge from Walton Heath, ten years after New Zealand’s Michael Campbell qualified and went on to win the US Open at Pinehurst.
After turning to chipping one handed to overcome the ‘yips’, Palmer is in his rookie season on The European Tour and he has vowed to continue using his unorthodox method when he tees it up in a Major Championship for the first time.
Germany’s Marcel Siem finished on six under par to take the seventh spot and a the final four spots were decided by a play-off after Tjaart Van Der Walt carded a birdie and two eagles in his last six holes to make it a five-way tie for eighth place on five under par.
Australian Marcus Fraser progressed at the first extra hole, before the South African trio of Van Der Walt, Thomas Aiken and Garth Mulroy secured their spots at the third play-off hole, with Welshman Oliver Farr the man to miss out on a Major debut.
Farr had to settle for the one of the two alternate spot available for Chambers Bay, with Fabrizio Zanotti coming through a separate five man play-off to claim the second, with three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington, who had bogeyed his final hole in regulation play to slip out of the play-off for the final four US Open spots, again missing out.
Quotes from selected qualified players
Alex Levy (-11)
“I’m really happy. I played really good golf for the two 18 holes. I was positive and had a good attitude. It’s nice to play the US Open. I was a little upset to slip out of the top 60 before Wentworth so it’s great to now get in. It will be my first time in the US Open. I missed the Masters, so itwill be great to play in another Major.”
Shiv Kapur (-10)
“This afternoon I was blemish free – five birdies, now bogeys, so I’m very pleased. That’s two years in a row now I’ve qualified from here so it is my happy hunting ground. I had a decent showing at Pinehurst last year so hopefully I can do even better this year.
“Last year was the coolest event I’ve played. I got cheered around all the way and coming up 18 I remember finishing with a birdie and it was the biggest cheer I’ve ever heard, so the US Open is really, really cool. At the end of the day, we play the sport to play the Majors and compete against the best, so it is a dream come true.
“Michael Campbell showed it can be done. Last year I was on the leaderboard for a while and I know if I play my best it is not out of the equation. But I just want to go out there and enjoy playing in another US Open and it will be a really cool feeling.”
John Parry (-9)
“I’m over the moon. It’s nice to get up at 5.45am and get your reward for it. I loved it two years ago at Merion. It was different to anything I’d ever played, and I think it will be the same again at Chambers Bay.
“I’ve done a little bit of research and I know it is a bit linksy, so it will be different to Merion, but I’m looking forward to it. Merion was like a US Open, thick rough, fast greens, but I’ve heard this course could be different. I really liked the atmosphere the last time though. I think because I was playing well, I fed off having 10,000 people watching.”
“I felt like this afternoon that I wasted a few shots. It’s a different format to normal. You want to win it or get the best score you can, but you know it’s just about getting over the finish line. It’s like Qualifying School. I’m becoming a qualifying expert. I’d rather not have to do it, but I do seem to be getting used to it. I grew up playing courses like Walton Heath though which always helps me.
Alex Noren (-8)
“I played ok for the first 18 but didn’t get it going, but it felt good, so I thought I’d go out and play in the afternoon, and try to work on the things that didn’t work last week. I started making birdies on the sixth hole and started playing well, getting some chances and the putter was good. I love playing in the US Open, but I couldn’t think of it a couple of hours ago. I’ve played one wet US Open and one firm and bouncy, but I loved the first two. It’s just a great event.”
Jason Palmer (-7)
“I’m absolutely thrilled. I’ve always wanted to play in a Major. I knew this would present a good opportunity to do it because I love Walton Heath. I’m delighted. It started to creep into my mind on the back nine, but I told myself not to be stupid. I had to refocus.
“The chipping is incredibly unique but it has saved my career, because there is no way I’d be competing as a professional if I didn’t fin the one-handed method. At the end of last year I went from 50th on the Challenge Tour to having a win, a second place, and being on The European Tour and now this. I’m having an incredible time. I love the game of golf and at the moment it is being good to me.
“I doubt there have been many one handed chippers at the US Open before. The rought might be a bit too deep to play one-handed, so I’ll have to assess it when I get there, but it is a problem I’m looking forward to have. If it is more of a linksy course it might suit me. I’d like it to play firm and fast, like it was here. But to play the US Open is an absolute dream come true and it has definitely not sunk in yet.”
Padraig Harrington (-4 – did not qualify)
“It was disappointing to bogey the last. I nearly walked off after four holes this morning so I was surprised to have a chance at all. It was nice to get a run going on the back nine. It’s one too many, so it is disappointing, especially after making a few birdies and getting inside the mark.
“I struggled badly this morning (with the shoulder injury) and really struggled to hit it. It’s hard to play golf one handed. It did ease out though, but it hurt me again out of the heather on the 18th. I wouldn’t like to be teeing it up on Thursday that way, but it showed some good signs. It’s eased off quite a bit since last week though, which is good. Hopefully I will be healthy and fit and ready to go on Thursday(at the Irish Open).”
133 A Levy (Fra) 66 67;
134 S Kapur (Ind) 67 67;
135 J Parry (Eng) 66 69;
136 A Noren (Swe) 72 64;
137 J Palmer (Eng) 69 68; L Bjerregaard (Den) 67 70;
138 M Siem (Ger) 70 68;
139 G Mulroy (RSA) 73 66; T Van Der Walt (RSA) 72 67; T Aiken (RSA) 71 68; M Fraser (Aus) 69 70; O Farr (Wal) 72 67
140 K Broberg (Swe) 73 67; P Harrington (Irl) 72 68; E Grillo (Arg) 71 69; P Uihlein (USA) 71 69; F Zanotti (Par) 71 69; S Walker (Eng) 70 70; E Goya (Arg) 68 72;
141 R Fisher (Eng) 74 67; L Jensen (Den) 72 69; A Dodt (Aus) 71 70; J Singh (Ind) 69 72; T Lewis (Eng) 69 72; B Evans (Eng) 67 74;
142 T Hatton (Eng) 72 70; W Ormsby (Aus) 72 70; S Lewton (Eng) 71 71;
143 G Havret (Fra) 74 69; R Rock (Eng) 74 69; R Karlsson (Swe) 73 70; A Hortal (Esp) 73 70; T Pieters (Bel) 73 70; M Orrin (Eng) 73 70; D Lipsky (USA) 72 71; C Shinkwin (Eng) 72 71; P Lawrie (Irl) 72 71; O Fisher (Eng) 72 71; L Slattery (Eng) 72 71; R Gonzalez (Arg) 69 74;
144 R Karlberg (Swe) 75 69; R Kakko (Fin) 74 70; J Carlsson (Swe) 73 71; G Maybin (Nir) 70 74; N Colsaerts (Bel) 70 74; J Garcia Pinto (Esp) 69 75; J Edfors (Swe) 67 77;
145 V Riu (Fra) 73 72; D Brooks (Eng) 70 75; R Dinwiddie (Eng) 70 75;
146 A Pavan (Ita) 76 70; J Scrivener (Aus) 76 70; K Ferrie (Eng) 73 73; J Lando Casanova (Fra) 71 75;
147 M Ilonen (Fin) 72 75; J Heath (Eng) 72 75;
148 S Hend (Aus) 76 72; P Martin Benavides (Esp) 76 72; J Walters (RSA) 71 77; M Crespi (Ita) 71 77;
149 M Madsen (Den) 75 74; R McGowan (Eng) 74 75;
150 T Pilkadaris (Aus) 75 75; M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 74 76;
151 M Ford (Eng) 72 79;
152 L Weber (Fra) 78 74;
RTD G Bourdy (Fra) 72 DQ; A Cañizares (Esp) 73 DQ; J Barnes (Eng) 74 RT; A Quiros (Esp) 73 WD; J Quesne (Fra) 74 WD; J Morrison (Eng) 74 WD; R Jacquelin (Fra) 75 WD; S Jamieson (Sco) 76 WD; S Manley (Wal) 76 WD; M Tullo (Chi) 76 WD; T Olesen (Den) 77 WD; M Kieffer (Ger) 77 WD; S Kim (USA) 78 WD; J Campillo (Esp) 79 WD; G Stal (Fra) 79 WD; M Manassero (Ita) 80 WD;