Swede qualifies for U.S. Open with playoff ace

Swede qualifies for U.S. Open with playoff ace

TADWORTH, England (AP) — Peter Hanson earned a trip to the U.S. Open by making a hole-in-one on the second playoff hole at Sunningdale to grab the 11th and final spot in a European qualifier Monday.

At the U.S. Open qualifier in Japan, 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa failed to get one of the five spots.

Seven players who finished at 139 in Europe competed for five spots in the playoff. Jose-Manuel Lara, Jean-Francois Lucquin, Johan Edfors and Francesco Molinari all made birdie on the first extra hole to secure their place at Bethpage Black next month.

That left Hanson, Richard Bland and Stephen Gallacher to play for the last spot, but not for long. Hanson switched clubs from a 5-iron to a 6-iron for the 206-yard 17th hole on the Old Course, and it proved to be the perfect club.

“This game is just so stupid sometimes,” Hanson said. “Obviously, I am delighted to get through, but to do it like that is unbelievable. We were between clubs on the tee, but I thought that I would go for a full 6-iron and play for the middle of the green. You need a bit of luck with any hole-in-one, and I got my share today.”

Raphael Jacquelin and Simon Khan led the 11 qualifiers with a 9-under 135 over 36 holes. Simon Dyson finished another shot behind, and the other spots went to Thomas Levet, Andrew McLardy and David Horsey.

Levet, who lost in a four-man playoff at the 2002 British Open, will be making his second straight trip to a major this year, with one big difference. He was working for a French television network at Augusta National.

“I want to play in the majors and not commentate on French TV like I did at the Masters,” Levet said. “I feel that my game is good enough right now for me to belong in the majors.”

The five who qualified in Japan were David Smail, Angelo Que, Sang Moon Bae, Kaname Yokoo and Shintaro Kai.

Ishikawa never came close, opening with a 74 and missing out by five shots. The Japanese teenager was given exemptions to the Masters (where he missed the cut) and the PGA Championship.

Also missing out was Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, who earned a spot at the Masters through the top 50 in the world. Marksaeng is No. 55 in the world ranking.

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