Scotland’s Marc Warren has won a World Cup with Colin Montgomerie, two European Tour titles and over £2m, but remarkably has never played in a major.
That will change in a fortnight, however, after the 31-year-old came out joint top in the United States Open 36-hole qualifier at Walton Heath yesterday.
It was third time lucky for him in the event and next month he will try to make it 10th time lucky in Open Championship qualifying.
Rounds of 70 and 65 gave him a share of first place with Swede Alex Noren, who this week defends his Wales Open title at Celtic Manor.
Warren said: “I was not sure whether I was going to play, but the people around me told me to give it a rip and see what happens.”
Reminded that New Zealander Michael Campbell won the 2005 US Open after coming through the qualifier first he replied: “What he did was an incredible achievement.
“I’ll just go to San Francisco and try to enjoy it – I’ve been told it’s pretty brutal.”
Warren came close to making the US Open five years ago, but missed out on a play-off by a shot after a one-foot tap-in near to the end of his second round went into the hole, but hit the metal rim below the surface and jumped out again.
The other qualifiers from Walton Heath were England’s Lee Slattery and Matthew Baldwin, Ireland’s Peter Lawrie, 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero, Dane Soren Kjeldsen, South African George Coetzee, Finn Mikko Ilonen and French pair Gregory Bourdy and Raphael Jacquelin.
Among those who failed to make it through were Ryder Cup captains past and present Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal – Montgomerie after an amazing 900-mile overnight drive from Wentworth to his Perthshire home to collect a putter and then back down to Surrey.
“Who in their right mind would do that? But yes, I did,” Montgomerie said.
“I left Wentworth at 2pm, was home at 8pm, had tea with the family, left at 11pm and got here just after 6am.”
He shot 68-72 to miss out on a play-off by two.