Inspired McDowell qualifies for US Open

Irish golfer Graeme McDowell qualified today for next week’s US Open at Winged Foot.

Irish golfer Graeme McDowell qualified today for next week’s US Open at Winged Foot.

McDowell shot rounds of 70 and 68 at Walton Heath to finish joint second eight strokes behind Dutchman Maarten Lafeber as 47 players battled for eight places in the second major of the year.

Last June Michael Campbell qualified on the same course and went on to triumph at the US Open in Pinehurst a week later.

“It’s inspiration for us all,” commented McDowell. “I’ll be giving it my best shot.

“I sat out the Masters in April and didn’t enjoy it. I was getting comfortable in the majors and don’t want to watch them on television.

“This is a funny old format. You’ve no idea what’s going on and I didn’t know whether to be aggressive or defensive. I just had to go with my gut instinct.”

Lafeber had brilliant rounds of 64 and 66 the day after a closing 74 in the Wales Open had him telling playing partner Peter O’Malley that, like Campbell last year, he was thinking of pulling out.

“I didn’t feel too well, but a couple of friends at home convinced me to play,” he said. “I had thought that even if qualify what am I going to do at the US Open on the toughest course in the world maybe.

“But it’s the easiest thing in the world not to try and I felt I had to at least try. Then my coach flew over, got my swing fixed on the range and I played awesome. I can’t remember every playing so well – I was in control the whole time.”

Alongside McDowell were Indian Jyoti Randhawa and former British amateur champion Graeme Storm.

Australian Richard Green and another Indian, Jeev Milkha Singh, also made it through, while there was a play-off for the final two spots involving 45-year-old amateur Gary Wolstenholme, former Walker Cup teammate Oliver Wilson and Dane Soren Kjeldsen.

Robert Karlsson and Paul Broadhurst, first and second in the Wales Open at the weekend and ninth and eighth respectively in the Ryder Cup table, could not maintain their form.

Karlsson shot 73-74 – seven too many for the play-off – and Broadhurst was only one better.

Collated final totals in the US Open 36-hole European qualifying tournament, Walton Heath, England (Gbr/Irl unless stated) (x) denotes amateur:

130 Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 64 66

138 Graeme Storm 69 69, Jyoti Randhawa (Ind) 71 67, Graeme McDowell 70 68

139 Richard Green (Aus) 72 67, Jeev Milka Singh (Ind) 70 69

140 (Play-off for two places taking place) Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 70 70, Oliver Wilson 71 69, (x) Gary Wolstenholme 72 68, Soren Hansen (Den) 69 71, Phillip Archer 69 71

The following players failed to qualify:

141 Steve Webster 68 73, Peter Fowler (Aus) 73 70, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 74 67, Peter O’Malley (Aus) 71 70, Jamie Spence 70 71, Garry Houston 67 74

142 Gary Emerson 71 71, Andrew McLardy (Rsa) 75 67, Gregory Havret (Fra) 71 71, Simon Wakefield 72 70

143 Emanuele Canonica (Ita) 75 68, Brett Rumford (Aus) 73 70, Chris Rodgers 72 71, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 71 72

144 Brian Davis 73 71, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 71 73

145 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 72 73, Jose-Filipe Lima (Por) 73 72

146 Joakim Backstrom (Swe) 71 75, Peter Lawrie 77 69, Anthony Wall 72 74, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 71 75, Paul Broadhurst 72 74

147 Christian Cevaer (Fra) 71 76, Barry Lane 77 70, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 73 74

148 Simon Dyson 74 74

149 Simon Khan 76 73

150 Johan Edfors (Swe) 76 74

153 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 74 79

155 Peter Gustafsson (Swe) 76 79

157 Paul Curry 77 80

Disqualified: Sam Little

Withdrew: Andrew Oldcorn, Richard Bland

Retired: Francois Delamontagne (Fra)

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