Kim survives 11-man playoff to reach Open

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.

“This is it for me. I’m 50 years old,” said O’Meara, who has played in 21 U.S. Opens. “I came here with the hopes of playing well enough to get through. But as I was out there, I realized that my time has kind of come to pass. I’ve tried the last three or four years and I haven’t gotten through, so I’ve just got to go ahead and step aside. I doubt if I’ll try qualifying anymore. There’s no need for me to take a spot. Let some of these young kids, it’s their turn now.”

The second-largest qualifier was in Memphis, Tenn., for those getting ready to play the Stanford St. Jude Classic, and most of those 16 spots went to PGA Tour players. Darron Stiles was the medalist after rounds of 69-62 at Colonial Country Club, two shots ahead of Kirk Triplett and Brandt Snedeker, who played college golf at Vanderbilt.

Olin Browne needed a rally for the second time in three years. Browne shot 59 in the Maryland qualifier two years ago after nearly withdrawing after 18 holes. This time, he opened with a 72 and followed with a 64 to get in by two shots.

Also getting in from the Memphis site were former PGA champion Steve Elkington and Paul Goydos, who won the Sony Open earlier this year for his first PGA Tour victory in 11 years. Among those who failed to advance was John Daly, who shot 73 and withdrew.

Justin Leonard, the 1997 British Open champion, Hunter Mahan and Ryan Palmer earned the three spots available in the qualifying at the Northwood Club, near Dallas.

PGA Tour regular Kevin Sutherland was the medalist at Bear Creek Club in Murietta, Calif., and his morning round of 7-under 65 featured a hole-in-one with a 6-iron on the 186-yard 8th hole. Richard Lee, a 16-year-old amateur from Chandler, Ariz., and Andrew Buckle finished at 140, three strokes behind Sutherland. Michael Block won a four-man playoff for the final spot.

Fred Funk, who won a Champions Tour event in Hawaii earlier this year but is not done with the regular tour, showed he still has game by earning one of the five spots at Woodmont Country Club in Maryland. Rhys Davies of Wales was the medalist at 137, followed by Joey Sindelar, another guy who will be eligible for the Champions Tour next year.

The final two spots were to be decided by a three-man playoff Tuesday morning that included Luke List.

Clarke did not earn one of the nine spots available at Walton Heath for primarily European Tour members. Clarke, who lost his wife to cancer last August a month before he led Europe to victory in the Ryder Cup, missed by eight shots after rounds of 75-72. It was the first time in 10 years he failed to qualify for a major.

“The current state of my game is not good enough for the U.S. Open anyway, so it is maybe not such a bad thing,” he said. “I’m working hard, but it’s not happening for me at the moment.”

The leading qualifiers in Europe were Nick Dougherty, Peter Hanson and Darren Fichardt.

In other qualifiers Monday:

– Illinoi golf coach Mike Small was among four qualifiers to earn a U.S. Open berth at Riverside Golf Club outside Chicago. Small also qualified for the PGA Championship last year at Medinah as a club pro. He shot 71-69 to share medalist honors with Jeff Brehaut, who is on the Nationwide Tour this year.

– In Georgia, Jason Dufner earned one of three spots at Hawks Ridge Golf Club. Among those who failed to qualify was Larry Nelson, who won the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

– In the other qualifier in the Columbus area, Jason Kokrak, Tom Gillis, Kyle Dobbs and Jacob Rogers earned the four spots.

– At Jupiter Hills Club in south Florida, amateur Jeff Golden and Chris Condello earned the two spots.

– Michael Berg earned the only spot available at Indian Hills Country Club in Mission Hills, Kan.

– Alex Prugh, an amateur from Spokane, Wash., earned the lone spot from the Washington state qualifier with a 71-69.

– At Columbine Country Club outside Denver, Jason Allen qualified for his second U.S. Open with a birdie on the first playoff hole to get the one spot from a 20-man field. He beat Dustin White, who qualified for the U.S. Open last year.

– At Purchase Country Club north of New York City, Geoffrey Sisk, Frank Bensel and Ricky Barnes all qualified.

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