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Kim survives 11-man playoff to reach Open

UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Anthony Kim must have felt like he won a major the way he qualified for his first one.

In an 11-man playoff for one spot in the U.S. Open on Monday, Kim holed a bunker shot on the first extra hole simply to stay in the game, then earned a ticket to Oakmont with a par on the third extra hole of a 36-hole qualifier loaded with PGA Tour players.

Ryan Moore and Bubba Watson, who both had chances to win the Memorial last weekend, stayed on their game to be co-medalists and lead the 24 players who qualified from Scioto Country Club.

The 11-man playoff was split into two groups, and Kevin Stadler made birdie from close range in the first group. Kim was in the second group and knew he had to hole his bunker shot to stay in the playoff.

"I played it just like I was hanging out and hitting shots with my friends,'' said Kim, who will turn 22 two days after the Open. "I was real relaxed and got up there to see what I could do.''

Stadler again hit it stiff on the second extra hole, and Kim followed with a sand wedge that spun back to about a foot to match birdies, with Will MacKenzie eliminated. Kim won the playoff with a par on the 210-yard third hole when Stadler came up short, chipped to about 10 feet and missed the putt.

Stadler and McKenzie are alternates.

For Kim, it was all too familiar.

He was 13 when he won an 11-for-1 playoff to earn a spot in the match play portion of the U.S. Junior Amateur.

"The U.S. Open would be awesome to play at,'' Kim said. "I played so much this year, I was treating it like any other tournament.''

Watson, who qualified for his second Open, said he could have used some time off but couldn't wait to play at Oakmont.

"It's going to be awesome because it's a major,'' Watson said. "That's what we strive for, the majors. It's a big tournament with an elite field and to say you won the U.S. Open, it would be unbelievable.''

Other qualifiers from Scioto included Jerry Kelly, Sean O'Hair, amateur Trip Kuehne and Boo Weekley.

There were a dozen qualifiers across the United States on Monday to determine the 156-man field for the U.S. Open, to be played June 14-17 at Oakmont Country Club. Another qualifier was outside London for primarily European Tour players.

Among those who failed to get in were two-time major champion Mark O'Meara, Darren Clarke, former Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman, Mark Calcavecchia and Brad Faxon.

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