Browne shoots 59 to earn US Open ticket

OLIN BROWNE fired a spectacular 59 to grab one of the final spots in the US Open - after almost withdrawing from the qualifying tournament in Maryland.

After an opening 73, the US Tour player asked about the protocol for scratching, but then reconsidered and returned after the overnight rain delay to finish birdie-eagle-eagle for one of the 21 spots on offer.

Yet it was not even the course record - five years ago Shigeki Maruyama had a 58, also in US Open qualifying and nor will it go into the PGA Tour record books because it does not count as an official event.

He actually thought he needed a closing birdie to break 60. “I got on the green, made the putt, added it up and thought ‘this isn’t right’. I can’t add.”

Former PGA champion Steve Elkington of Australia, Tommy Armour III and Rocky Mediate also earned spots while Tom Kite, winner of the 1992 US Open at Pebble Beach, and Mark O’Meara, US Masters and British Open champion in 1998, failed in their last bid to secure a place in the field.

Meanwhile, British amateur champion, Brian McElhinney (North West) heads Ireland’s team for the European Team Championship in Southport at the end of the month.

Jim Carvill (Warrenpoint), winner of last weekend’s East of Ireland Championship at Co Louth, is also included in the six-man team along with Darren Crowe (Dunmurry), Michael McGeady (North West), Rory McIlroy (Holywood) and Sean McTernan (Co. Sligo).

Richard Kilpatrick (Banbridge) is the non-travelling reserve.

Irish Youths team for annual clash with Scotland at Portumna on June 22 is: Keith Crowley (Lee Valley), Nicholas Grant (Clandeboye), Rory McIlroy (Holywood), Cian McNamara (Limerick), Aaron O’Callaghan (Douglas) and Gareth Shaw (Lurgan).

The Munster Branch of the GUI has extended the closing dates for a number of youths competitions.

The closing date for entries for the Munster Boys Under 15 Open Championship on June 23 at Dungarvan Golf Club has been extended to June 14, while the closing date for the Munster Boys Open Championship at East Clare Golf Club between July 6 and 8, is now Friday June 24.

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